New Age Islam
Wed Dec 02 2020, 08:21 AM

Islamic World News ( 24 March 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Islamic State Blow up Sufi Shrine in Iraq’s Kirkuk









Photo: Islamic State militants have blown up a Sufi shrine in Kirkuk, as websites close to the extremist group reported on Sunday.

 

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Arab World

Islamic State Blow up Sufi Shrine in Iraq’s Kirkuk

Hundreds of Faylaq al-Rahman Militants, Family Members Leave Eastern Ghouta

S. Arabia Concerned about Jeish Al-Islam's Relocation to Idlib

Islamic State Group Claims Responsibility for Killing, Injuring 103 Iraqi Troops

Over 105,000 civilians have left Eastern Ghouta in Syria, Russia says

2 Senior Tahrir Al-Sham Terrorist Commanders Killed in Idlib

As Syrian rebels quit Ghouta, Douma stands alone

Kurdish Militants Levy Financial Backup by Force in Raqqa

Syrian Army Uses Hi-Tech Drones in Eastern Ghouta Operations

Terrorists' Longest Trench in Eastern Ghouta Discovered by Syrian Army

Tahrir al-Sham Takes Control of New Regions in Aleppo during Infighting with Other Terrorists

Turkish Army, Allied Militants Inch Closer to Syrian Army Positions in Northern Aleppo

Iraqi security forces arrest senior Islamic State media officer

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Mideast

Rep. of Grand Ayatollah Sistani: Claiming To Love Ahlulbayt, Not Enough for Being Shia

Qatari FM Says Siege Countries Plotted Regime Change

Bahrain Islamic Bank Launches ‘Women in Leadership’ Program

British editor in UAE gets 10 years for wife's slaying

Opec’s crude balancing act amid Iran-Saudi tug of war

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Pakistan

Court Moved Against Judicial Powers of Fata Officers

10 Injured In Grenade Attack at D.I. Khan Cultural Festival

Pakistani Court Frees 20 in Killing of Christian Couple Case

Fazl Says World Powers Want To Keep Religious Parties Away From Power

14 more arrest warrants issued for Khadim Rizvi, other suspects in Faizabad sit-in cases

Pakistan condemns Lashkargah car bombing as death toll rises to 16

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South Asia

14 Militants Blown Up By Own Explosives in Faryab Province

At least 12 Killed, Wounded in Herat Mosque Explosion

5 ISIS militants killed in Kunar and Nangarhar drone strikes

Bomb inside Afghan Shiite mosque kills 1, wounds 7

Atmar says country facing a sensitive situation, seeks national support for govt

Tehran supports Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process: Kharazi

New York man convicted of killing Bangladeshi imam, his assistant

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Africa

Chad Soldier, 20 Boko Haram Terrorists Killed In Clash

Nigeria: Northern leaders score Buhari low, reject him for 2019

One policeman killed in blast near security convoy in Egypt's Alexandria

In Egypt, Wall-To-Wall El-Sissi Banners Inspire Satire

FG responsible if anything happens to Zakzaky, wife – Islamic Movement

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Europe

Jailed British Soldier, 23, Who Bragged About Being A Nazi And Killing Muslims Is Allowed To STAY In The Army And Parade In Front Of Prince William

French police find Islamic State notes in home of supermarket attacker

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India

2 Pak Terrorists Killed In Anantnag Encounter

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Southeast Asia

Police, Politicians Accused Of Joining Sri Lanka's Anti-Muslim Riots

Blocking Saudi nuclear plant opens door to China, US energy secretary says

Rohingya orphans find shelter in Islamic school

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North America

The Cloud Act Will Give the U.S. Government Even More Power to Spy on Muslims

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-blow-up-sufi-shrine-in-iraq’s-kirkuk/d/114708


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Islamic State blow up Sufi shrine in Iraq’s Kirkuk

by  Mohamed Mostafa

Mar 25, 2018

Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State militants have blown up a Sufi shrine in Kirkuk, as websites close to the extremist group reported on Sunday.

The websites said the militants booby-trapped the shrine and blew it up late Saturday in Tal Hama southeast of Daqouq region

Islamic State militants adopt a fundamental interpretation of Islam which beholds Sufism as heresy. The had demolished several shrines and archaeological sites since they emerged in 2014 to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “caliphate”.

Iraq declared victory over the group last December, but the militants have launched occasional attacks against civilians and security forces since then.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/islamic-state-blow-up-sufi-shrine-in-iraqs-kirkuk/

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Arab World

Islamic State blow up Sufi shrine in Iraq’s Kirkuk

by  Mohamed Mostafa

Mar 25, 2018

Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State militants have blown up a Sufi shrine in Kirkuk, as websites close to the extremist group reported on Sunday.

The websites said the militants booby-trapped the shrine and blew it up late Saturday in Tal Hama southeast of Daqouq region

Islamic State militants adopt a fundamental interpretation of Islam which beholds Sufism as heresy. The had demolished several shrines and archaeological sites since they emerged in 2014 to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “caliphate”.

Iraq declared victory over the group last December, but the militants have launched occasional attacks against civilians and security forces since then.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/islamic-state-blow-up-sufi-shrine-in-iraqs-kirkuk/

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Hundreds of Faylaq al-Rahman Militants, Family Members Leave Eastern Ghouta

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Nearly 1,000 militants and their family members left their last strongholds in the Southern parts of Eastern Ghouta for Idlib after an agreement between Faylaq al-Rahman militant group and the Syrian army.

Field sources reported on Sunday that 981 Faylaq al-Rahman and al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) terrorists and their family members left Arabayn, Zmelka, EinTarma, Hazeh and Jobar regions in Eastern Ghouta for Harasta on 17 buses through Arabayn corridor, adding that they will then be transferred to Idlib via the Water Resources corridor in Harasta.

Meantime, the Syrian army freed 8 of its forces who had been held captive by the terrorists in the town of Arabayn.

Relevant reports said on Saturday that the Syrian army units were preparing to deploy in the terrorists' last bastion after reaching an agreement with Faylaq al-Rahman militant group on evacuation of all militants from the Southern regions of Eastern Ghouta.

Military sources reported that the army has prepared a corridor to facilitate evacuation of al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman terrorists from the four regions of EinTarma, Arabayn, Zmelka and Hazeh.

The Syrian army imposed control over 60% of EinTarma on Friday night after clashes with the terrorists and rapid advances in the region.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970105000238

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S. Arabia Concerned about Jeish Al-Islam's Relocation to Idlib

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Riyadh is showing deep concerns after Jeish al-Islam was forced by a series of devastating defeats to consent to the Syrian government plan to relocate its militants from Damascus to Idlib in Northwestern Syria, where the Saudi influence may faint and be replaced with Turkey as the new backer of the militant group.

"Relocation of Jeish Al-Islam to Idlib means that one of the most important terrorist groups will be transferred to a region controlled by al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) and other Ankara-backed militants that would, in turn, entail infighting among different terrorist groups in Idlib," an assessment by the Syrian army's joint operation room mentioned, adding that such internal fighting would wear off the military capability of all the terrorist groups stationed in the Northwestern province.

Riyadh is profoundly worried that Jeish al-Islam steps outside its domain of control and be coaxed into obeying Ankara after their relocation to Idlib as Saudi Arabia and Turkey are experiencing tensions and political rivalries in the region.

Jeish al-Islam was forced to come into terms with the Syrian army over Eastern Ghouta recently.

The reports claim that the Syrian Army and Jeish al-Islam agreed to the terms of an agreement that would have the latter turn their heavy weapons into the government and Russian military.

The report further said according to the agreement, Jeish al-Islam will release prisoners in Douma, including those from the Syrian Army, hand over all their heavy weapons to the government, and give the government and army full access roads to Douma to take the wounded to local hospitals.

Also according to the agreement, the militants in Douma will decide whether they will go to Idlib, Dara'a, or stay in Eastern Ghouta to settle their cases with the state and receive amnesty.

Food staples and aid will enter Douma and a local police unit will be formed by civil leaders in the district, according to the agreement.

State Institutions will also start to work inside Douma after a “short period”. The basic services of water, electricity and sewage system will take priority.

Individual arms ownership will be organized within the existing laws administered by the State.

The report added that the Russians have mediated the terms between the two parties.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970104000439

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Islamic State group claims responsibility for killing, injuring 103 Iraqi troops

by  MohammedEbraheem

Mar 25, 2018

Kirkuk (Iraqinews.com) – Islamic State (IS) group claimed that its militants killed and injured 103 government troops within a month in different Iraqi cities.

In an online statement, a copy of which was obtained by IKH News, the militant group said, “Another 13 Iraqi troops were taken captive during the period from February 19 to March 21.”

The militant group further claimed that its insurgents destroyed 12 armored vehicles and an oil tank during the aforementioned period.

Despite the victory over IS last year, observers say the militant group is still constituting a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December with the help of a US-led alliance, having retaken all the territory captured by the extremists in 2014 and 2015.

Isolated cells believed to be linked to the Islamic State group remain active in some parts of the country. In recent weeks, suspected Islamic State insurgents have carried out several attacks targeting security forces in the areas north-west of Kirkuk.

The Islamic State group appeared on the international scene in 2014 when it seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, declaring the establishment of an Islamic “caliphate” from Mosul city. Later on, the group has become notorious for its brutality, including mass killings, abductions and beheadings, prompting the U.S. to lead an international coalition to destroy it.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/islamic-state-group-claims-responsibility-for-killing-injuring-103-iraqi-troops/

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Over 105,000 civilians have left Eastern Ghouta in Syria, Russia says

Reuters | Mar 24, 2018

MOSCOW: Russia's Defence Ministry said more than 105,000 people have left Syria's Eastern Ghouta rebel enclave, including another 700 on Saturday since government forces began an assault to retake it a month ago, RIA news agency reported, citing the military.

RIA referred to evacuations taking place during "humanitarian pauses". Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main ally in the conflict, ordered daily five-hour ceasefires and the creation of a "humanitarian corridor" to allow civilians to leave Eastern Ghouta.

In the event, the offensive - among the fiercest of the seven-year civil war - was largely carried out in defiance of international pleas to halt and honour a truce, and about 90 percent of eastern Ghouta is back under government control.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/over-105000-civilians-have-left-eastern-ghouta-in-syria-russia-says/articleshow/63442761.cms

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2 Senior Tahrir Al-Sham Terrorist Commanders Killed in Idlib

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Two senior commanders of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) terrorist group were assassinated as internal tensions heightened with Syria's Tahrir Front in Idlib.

Field sources reported on Saturday that one of Tahrir al-Sham commanders namely Ahmed Abu Homam al-Qadfeh was killed along with a number of militants after they came under attack by unknown assailants near the town of Ma'rat al-No'eman in Southern Idlib.

The incident happened as fierce tensions erupted between Tahrir al-Sham and Syria's Tahrir Front in the town of Jaradeh near Ma'arat al-No'eman in Southern Idlib, cutting Ma'arat al-No'eman-Saraqib road.

Also, 30 Tahrir al-Sham terrorists were held captive during clashes in Khan Sonbol and the town of KafrBatikh in Southern Idlib by Syria's Tahrir Front.

Reports from Northern Idlib also said that Tahrir al-Sham deputy commander for border affairs named Khatab Abu Ibrahim was killed after a bomb was detonated in his car.

Several terrorists were killed in clashes between Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at and Syria's Tahrir Front in Western Aleppo on Friday as negotiations to settle internal differences between them failed.

Field sources reported that a number of militants were killed and held captive during clashes between Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at and Syria's Tahrir Front near Jamiat al-Rahal region in Western Aleppo.

The sources pointed to the clashes between the two sides in several villages and towns in Western Aleppo, including Balenta and Makbelis, and said that Tahrir al-Sham has entered the villages of Batbo, KafrNasih, Babkeh, al-Jineh and Abyan.

Meantime, Tahrir al-Sham has sent a large number of military vehicles and equipment to the town of al-Artab in Northern Aleppo.

The developments came after negotiations to stop clashes between Tahrir al-Sham and Syria's Tahrir Front have failed as the two sides blame each other for the failure.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970104000501

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As Syrian rebels quit Ghouta, Douma stands alone

Reuters | Mar 25, 2018

BEIRUT: Syrian rebels began pulling out of several towns in their former enclave of eastern Ghouta on Saturday, surrendering them to the government and leaving the besieged city of Douma as their last bastion there.

It comes after a month-long assault that devastated the already battered eastern Ghouta, an area of farmland and towns that was one of the first centres of the uprising in 2011 and the last major rebel stronghold near the capital Damascus.

Ten buses carrying fighters along with their families and other civilians started to leave the enclave after dark, the vanguard of a convoy heading into exile in northwestern Syria.

It follows the departure of thousands of others on Friday from the town of Harasta in a similar deal for insurgents to depart with light weapons in return for giving up their territory.

The buses queued at a crossing point before moving into the enclave along a road on the former front lines that had been cleared of barricades, debris and unexploded ordnance.

Some captives held by the insurgents were released and state television showed them leaving in a minibus.

The army was advancing into towns the rebels had retreated from in preparation for their exit, state television said. It broadcast pictures of the massive trenches and other fortifications the rebels were leaving behind.

It means only Douma is left of the opposition’s eastern Ghouta enclave which a month ago the United Nations said was home to 400,000 people.

The army offensive to capture it, heralded by one of the heaviest bombardments in the seven-year conflict with warplanes, helicopters and artillery, has killed more than 1,600 people, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor.

Residents and rights groups have accused the government of using weapons that kill indiscriminately - inaccurate barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, chlorine gas and incendiary material that sets raging fires.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his close ally Russia, which has helped his air campaign, have denied using all those weapons and say their offensive was needed to end the rule of Islamist militants over civilians.

EVACUATION

About 7,000 people - fighters along with family members and other civilians who do not wish to come back under Assad’s rule - were to leave the towns of Zamalka, Arbin, EinTerma and Jobar starting on Saturday, rebels and state media said.

They will go to Idlib province in the northwest - the destination for many such “evacuations” after sieges and ground offensives forced numerous rebel enclaves to surrender in the past two years.

It will not mean an end to their experience of war. Syrian military and Russian air raids on Idlib have increased in the past week, killing dozens of people.

Idlib is also unsettled by fighting between the rebel groups. On Saturday, an explosion at a headquarters for al Qaeda’s former affiliate killed at least seven people and injured 25 others.

The Britain-based Observatory said there were also negotiations with the Jaish al-Islam rebel group that controls Douma to release prisoners.

Russia will guarantee that civilians who remain in the areas recaptured by Assad will not be prosecuted, rebels said on Friday. However, rights groups have said some men were forcibly conscripted after fleeing the fighting.

WaelAlwan, spokesman for the Failaq al-Rahman group that was dominant in Zamalka, Arbin, EinTerma and Jobar, was quoted by al-Hadath television on Saturday as saying he did not trust Russia’s guarantees.

A Russian military webcam at the al-Wafideen crossing point near Douma showed small groups of civilians continuing to flee the danger of further bombardment into government territory, carrying children and sacks of belongings.

Russia’s military said more than 105,000 people had left eastern Ghouta, including over 700 on Saturday.

Tens of thousands have fled their homes in the past week as the bombardment of Douma intensified and refugees from other parts of Ghouta found the basement bomb shelters too full to take them.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/as-syrian-rebels-quit-ghouta-douma-stands-alone/articleshow/63451725.cms

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Kurdish Militants Levy Financial Backup by Force in Raqqa

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has started forcing civilians in Raqqa to pay for the costs of war with the Turkish army in Afrin after they faced an acute shortage of financial resources.

The SDF's civil administration center has asked each family in the town of al-Tabaqah in Raqqa province to pay 500 Syrian Liras, citizens reported on Saturday.

The Kurdish militias have imposed the same rules in Tawihineh camp in Western Raqqa, and threatened to expel the families that deny to "cover the costs of war".

Meantime, other reports disclosed that the Kurdish militants have disassembling warplanes in al-Tabaqah airbase and sold them in parts to unknown parties in a move to cover the costs of war in Afrin.

The reports cams as Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan said he had told both US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that “Turkey will not step back in Syria”, vowing that the ongoing campaign in Afrin will be expanded to other parts of the war-torn country, including Manbij.

"Last night I spoke with US President Trump on these issues. I discussed the same things with Putin two days ago. I told them: ‘We won’t take steps backward from here. We are on the side of the suffering and the oppressed,’” Erdogan said in an address at a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul on Friday.

The Turkish military, along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), launched “Operation Olive Branch” against Kurds in Afrin on January 20, and Erdogan vowed that operations “will not end in Afrin. Next are Idlib and Manbij”.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970104000645

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Syrian Army Uses Hi-Tech Drones in Eastern Ghouta Operations

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army has been using hi-tech drones in its operations in Eastern Ghouta to speed up the march on terrorists' centers in the region, Russia's state media said.

The Arabic-language Sputnik news agency quoted a military source as saying that the terrorists in Eastern Ghouta - as the main bastion of the terrorists trained by foreign military experts - have been surprised by the Syrian army's high momentum marches.

"Terrorists have dug a large number of trenches and tunnels and established different bases to confront the Syrian army in the past 7 years," the report said, "Yet, the Syrian army's operation room has set up a database of targets with the help of the intel collected by the drone. The date includes warehouses and caches of weapons and ammunition and roads used to transfer the arms supplies and militants across the terrorist-held regions."

In a relevant development early this month, the Syrian army launched a nightly raid on al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) in Eastern Ghouta, capturing one of the most important and longest tunnels used by the terrorists.

Field sources reported that the army forces killed and wounded tens of terrorists during military operations in Eastern Ghouta which led to the liberation of Hawsh al-Zawaherah and the nearby areas after the end of the daily ceasefire.

They added that the Syrian army soldiers won control of several key tunnels used by the terrorists, including a 7-km-long multi-storey tunnel from al-Rayhan farms in the North to Hazarma in the South.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970104000669

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Terrorists' Longest Trench in Eastern Ghouta Discovered by Syrian Army

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army discovered the militants' longest trench linking several regions in purging operations in Eastern Ghouta of Damascus.

Field sources reported on Saturday that the Syrian army units have found the terrorists' largest trench network in Eastern Ghouta, linking Harasta, Douma and Modira to each other.

They added that the trench which is five meters wide and dug some 3 meters deep into the ground was used by the terrorists to drive their vehicles and trucks among the three regions.

The army soldiers also gained access to the terrorists' huge caches of arms and military equipment which included large amounts of US-made semi-heavy and light weapons, including thermal rockets.

In a relevant development early this month, the Syrian army launched a nightly raid on al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) in Eastern Ghouta, capturing one of the most important and longest tunnels used by the terrorists.

Field sources reported that the army forces killed and wounded tens of terrorists during military operations in Eastern Ghouta which led to the liberation of Hawsh al-Zawaherah and the nearby areas after the end of the daily ceasefire.

They added that the Syrian army soldiers won control of several key tunnels used by the terrorists, including a 7-km-long multi-storey tunnel from al-Rayhan farms in the North to Hazarma in the South.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970104000582

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Tahrir al-Sham Takes Control of New Regions in Aleppo during Infighting with Other Terrorists

 

 

TEHRAN (FNA)-Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) gained control over new regions in Western Aleppo after clashes with other terrorist groups.

Field sources in Western Aleppo reported on Saturday that Tahrir al-Sham engaged in clashes with Syria's Tahrir Front in occupied villages of Balenta, Makbas and Jamiat al-Rahal, winning control of these regions from the latter group.

They underlined heavy clashes between the two sides in regions near the town of Dar al-Izza in Western Aleppo, noting that tens of militants of both sides were killed and wounded.

Also, reports said that high tensions and clashes are also underway between the two sides in Southern Idlib along with the infighting in Western Aleppo.

Several terrorists were killed in clashes between Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at and Syria's Tahrir Front in Western Aleppo on Friday as negotiations failed to resolve internal differences between the two sides.

Field sources reported that a number of militants were killed and held captive during clashes between Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at and Syria's Tahrir Front near Jamiat al-Rahal region in Western Aleppo.

The sources pointed to the clashes between the two sides in several villages and towns in Western Aleppo, including Balenta and Makbelis, and said that Tahrir al-Sham has entered the villages of Batbo, KafrNasih, Babkeh, al-Jineh and Abyan.

Meantime, Tahrir al-Sham has sent a large number of military vehicles and equipment to the town of al-Artab in Northern Aleppo.

The developments came after negotiations to stop clashes between Tahrir al-Sham and Syria's Tahrir Front have failed as the two sides blame each other for the failure.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970104000404

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Turkish Army, Allied Militants Inch Closer to Syrian Army Positions in Northern Aleppo

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish army and affiliated militants occupied more regions in Northern Aleppo near the Syrian army bases during military operations against Kurds in Afrin.

The Turkish army and allied militants continued clashes with Kurds South of Afrin on Saturday, and captured the three villages of Fafartin, Borjekah and Kabjin and a watchtower near Kabajin.

The Turkish forces inched closer to the Syrian army bases in Northern Aleppo, Nobl and al-Zahra, after taking control of these regions.

The Syrian army troops reinvigorated their positions in Afrin region on Friday as the Turkish army and their allied militants occupied four new regions and approached the Syrian army bases in Northern Aleppo.

Field sources reported that the Turkish army and allied militants gained control of the four villages of Ba'ei, Basoufan, KafrNabou and BorjHaider in clashes with the Kurdish forces in Southeastern Afrin.

The sources said that the Turkish forces have approached the regions near the two towns of Nobl and al-Zahra which are under the Syrian army's control now.

Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news channel reported that the Syrian army units have consolidated their positions in Borj al-Qas, al-Zoq, Miyaseh and Bashmara to confront any possible attack by the Turkish army and its allied militants after the latter's advances in regions near the Syrian army positions.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970104000282

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Iraqi security forces arrest senior Islamic State media officer

by  Mohamed Mostafa

Mar 25, 2018

Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi security forces have arrested the chief editor of one of Islamic State’s media outlets, security sources were quoted saying on Sunday as authorities hunt for remnant militants.

Shafaq News website quoted the sources saying that the IS member, nicknamed Abu Saif al-Iraqi, was arrested in Mosul.

It said al-Iraqi was in charge of Al-Naba, one of Islamic State’s propaganda papers.

Islamic State militants have run several media outlets propagating their operations and even publicizing executions of civilians and security members since they took over a third of Iraq in 2014 to proclaim a self-styled “caliphate” in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

But many of the group’s mouthpieces seemed to fade out gradually as Iraqi forces took over territories held by the militants.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State militants in December, but security authorities continue to purge provinces from remnant cells.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/iraqi-security-forces-arrest-senior-islamic-state-media-officer/

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Mideast

Rep. of Grand Ayatollah Sistani: Claiming To Love Ahlulbayt, Not Enough for Being Shia

March 25, 2018

 (AhlulBayt News Agency) - At the Friday sermon in the city of Karbala which was held at Imam Hussain holy shrine, Grand Ayatollah Sistani’s representative Hujjat al-Islam Abdul Mahdi Karbalaei stressed on Ahlulbayt’s great attention to the reality and principle of Shia school of thought, and said our blessed Imams warned those who thought they were followers of Ahlulbayt, but did not adhere to their teachings.

Hujjat al-Islam Karbalaei went on to say, “Many people think it is enough for a Shia to only recognize Infallible Imams’ high place, love them and claim to be related to them. But there are many religious traditions that called this notion a misconception, so we should get out of this illusion and realize what characteristics are required for one to become a true Shia of Ahlulbayt.”

Representative of grand Ayatollah Sistani asserted, “There are a number of features that indicate the true orientation toward the Ahlulbayt, such as worship, morality, social solidarity, the existence of kindness in the hearts of believers, trust, truthfulness, order and a correct lifestyle. If one is committed to these qualities, he/she is a Shia of Ahlulbayt.”

The Shia cleric added, “If one is happy in Ahlulbayt’s happiness and sad in their sadness, but lies, backbites or swears, he/she is not a true Shia, but merely a lover of Ahlulbayt.”

en.abna24.com/news/middle-east/rep-of-grand-ayat-sistani-claiming-to-love-ahlulbayt-not-enough-for-being-shia_886852.html

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Qatari FM Says Siege Countries Plotted Regime Change

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani reaffirmed his country’s view that the current [Persian] Gulf crisis was instigated by regional countries that conspired to carry out regime change his country.

“This is not new,” he said, adding that “the same thing happened in 2014 and 1996”, Middle East Monitor reported.

Al Thani stressed that “This aggression was launched when Qatar began to adopt new changes – carrying out a different strategy and pursuing a different vision.”

Speaking in Paris on Qatar’s view about regional issues in a seminar organised by the International Diplomacy Academy, the Qatari Minister stated that “The siege countries [Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt] do not accept different views or different systems. At the same time, we refuse to concede our sovereignty.”

“We build our diplomacy based on our principles. We think our region needs a consistent security strategy that enables people to coexist peacefully with each other,” he said.

As for his own country, Qatar, Al Thani added that “The basic principle in our diplomacy is that people are not subject to any political bargaining. When there is an issue between the government and the people, we stand beside the people.”

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970105000529

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Bahrain Islamic Bank Launches ‘Women in Leadership’ Program

Published March 25th, 2018

Bahrain Islamic Bank, one of the leading financial institutions in the Kingdom, and a devoted supporter to empowering women in the industry, has launched the ‘Women in Leadership’ program an internal initiative aimed at investing and inspiring BisB’s female assets to build and unlock their leadership potential, helping them pursue senior roles in the workforce.

The Bank has consistently prioritised the need to develop leaders in the industry, by inspiring a transformation mind-set and harnessing a culture of innovation. The Women in Leadership program forms a key pillar of BisB’sIshraq “Back-to-Basics” strategy, launched in 2016, with a commitment to develop talent and promote gender diversity.

BisB’s ‘Women in Leadership’ program focuses on establishing a platform to enable female professionals across the Bank to more effectively chart their career paths and achieve their development goals. This initiative aims to fine-tune and install need-based attributes required by women at different stage of their career journey, establishing the essential building blocks for emerging females to succeed when navigating through their career path.

Commenting on this program, the Chief Executive Officer of BisB, Mr. Hassan Jarrar, said, “BisB’s ‘Women in Leadership’ program is an extension of our existing corporate strategy and a reflection of our deep rooted commitment to supporting the professional development of women not only in our industry but across the country. With seniority, the career ladder gets steeper and more complex needs starts to emerge; the natural demands for executive roles require impactful leadership, transformational mind-sets and mature unique professional expertise. We are therefore excited to be launching this program which aims to provide our female talent pool with the necessary tools, knowledge and resources to help pave their way into the future leaders of tomorrow.”

The program offers a more complex understanding of issues related to professional women and work, examines the opportunities, challenges, trade-offs, and organizational dynamics experienced by women within the organisation, and evaluates the behaviours, capabilities, and values needed to become a leader in the industry.  The Women in Leadership Program will feature a series of workshops, mentoring sessions and networking events conducted in partnership with industry leaders.

albawaba.com/business/pr/bahrain-islamic-bank-launches-‘women-leadership’-program-1107192

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British editor in UAE gets 10 years for wife's slaying

AP | Mar 25, 2018

DUBAI: A British newspaper editor in Dubai was found guilty today of bludgeoning his wife to death with a hammer and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Francis Matthew was not present in the Dubai Court of the First Instance for the verdict read by Judge Fahad al-Shamsi, which is common in courts in the United Arab Emirates.

The former editor of the English-language Gulf News had faced the possibility of the death penalty in the July 2017 killing.

A brother of Matthew's wife, the late 62-year-old Jane Matthew, was in court for the verdict, but declined to immediately talk to journalists.

Matthew's lawyer could not be immediately reached. Matthew can appeal his sentence.

On July 4, Dubai police say they were called to Matthew's three-bedroom villa in Dubai's Jumeirah neighborhood. There, they say they found his wife of over 30 years dead, and the editor told them robbers had broken into the home and killed her.

During a later interrogation, however, police say Matthew told them his wife had grown angry with him because they were in debt and needed to move. Matthew said he got angry when his wife called him a "loser" and told him "you should provide financially," according to police.

Matthew told police his wife pushed him during the argument. He then got a hammer, followed her into the bedroom and struck her twice in the head, killing her, according to a police report.

The next morning, Matthew tried to make it look like the house had been robbed and later went to work like nothing had happened, throwing the hammer in a nearby trash can, police said.

Gulf News previously has said Matthew served as its editor from 1995-2005 and then became an editor-at-large at the newspaper. He was still with the newspaper at the time of the killing, though the Gulf News now refers to him as a former employee.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/british-editor-in-uae-gets-10-years-for-wifes-slaying/articleshow/63451262.cms

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Opec’s crude balancing act amid Iran-Saudi tug of war

Syed Rashid HusainUpdated March 25, 2018

Oil futures finished at an eight-week high Friday, surging to almost $70 a barrel during the week. The surge was a knee-jerk reaction of the markets to the unexpected drop in the US crude inventory by more than 2.6 million barrels and the Saudi desire to extend the output cut arrangement in 2019 too.

But behind the scene, at least two other developments were impacting both – the energy geopolitics and its overall mathematics.

Pundits are beginning to weigh in the hardening of the US position on Iran and its possible impact on crude markets. There is a growing consensus that on May 12, President Trump will not sign the Tehran sanction waiver.

And in the meantime, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman underlining that in case Iran goes nuclear, Saudi Arabia too would opt for nuclear capability, political heat in the oil rich region is rising, and beginning to effect energy markets.

For the first time in many months, the fear premium is rising. Markets seemed taking note not only of the emerging geopolitical scenario but also the possibility of further fall in the Venezuelan output.

Yet, the mid-to-long term crude scenario continues to be murky. Pundits are not ready, at least as yet, to ignore the negatives lurking in the background.

Rising US crude output remains a major cause of concern. As per the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), released earlier this month, the US crude oil production averaged 10.3m barrels per day (bpd) in February, up 230,000 bpd from the January level. This was exactly 1m bpd higher than the average US output of 9.3m bpd in 2017.

The EIA is now projecting that US crude oil production to average 10.7m bpd in 2018 and 11.3m bpd in 2019.

The growing US crude output is not only negating the efforts made by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and Russia, it is also taking over the market share that has been ceded by them.

This is going to impact the overall crude mathematics and analysts are taking note. As per a Reuters report, hedge funds have resumed liquidating their bullish long positions in crude oil and refined fuels amid more signs that the price rally may be fizzling out.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) too is aware. In its March oil market report, it has increased again its forecast for non-Opec output in 2018, reflecting the surging US output, expecting the non-Opec supply to outweigh the demand growth this year.

Rystad Energy, the Norwegian energy consultant in a recent report, too is underlining that crude oil prices could be in for a fresh collapse in 2019 unless Opec increases and extends its oil production cuts, as production from the increasingly competitive US shale sector grows further.

Rystad has even more bullish forecasts about the US oil output. “Shale is not dead, shale is reborn and has strong growth potential [even] at $40 to $50 oil,” said chief executive JarandRystad. “It has the potential to again crush the oil market,” he underlined.

The Rystad report is now predicting that the US output could grow to 11.4m bpd by the end of this year and potentially to 12.7m bpd by the end of 2019 – thanks to lower costs and higher well productivity.

The surge in US shipments to Asia threatens to undermine the deal between Opec and its allies, carrying the risk of oil sliding under $60 a barrel, says the ING Groep NV.

While the producer group complied with the pledge to curb output, US flows that are gaining a bigger slice of the prized Asian market may prompt some nations to boost supplies, said Warren Patterson of the Dutch bank. The resulting fallout could drag down crude prices, he emphasised.

“The longer the deal goes on, it’s going to start falling apart,” Patterson said in a press interview insisting the deal continues to give market share away to the US

Some reports also indicate the Opec is splitting into two distinct camps. On one side is Saudi Arabia, which wants oil prices at $70 a barrel or higher (for the obvious reason of the impending Aramco IPO), and on the other is Iran, which wants the price to be around $60.

“If the price jumps [to] around $70…it will motivate more production in shale oil in the United States,” the Iranian Oil Minister BijanZanganeh told The Wall Street Journal in a rare interview.

The Opec’s balancing act seems in for some real challenges. But will Riyadh pay heed to it? This remains a big if.

dawn.com/news/1397397/opecs-crude-balancing-act-amid-iran-saudi-tug-of-war

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Pakistan

Court Moved Against Judicial Powers of Fata Officers

Bureau Report Updated March 25, 2018

PESHAWAR: An academician from Bajaur Agency on Saturday moved the Peshawar High Court challenging the judicial powers of Fata’s executive officers under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) as well as the appointment of retired bureaucrats as chairman and member of the FCR Tribunal.

Professor Anwar Shah, a teacher of mathematics in the Bajaur Degree College, filed a petition with the court seeking orders to declare illegal and unconstitutional the exercising of judicial powers by political agents, assistant political agents and commissioners under the FCR.

He prayed the court to declare that exercise of judicial powers in violation of Article 175(3) of the Constitution, which guaranteed the separation of the judiciary from the executive.

The petitioner requested the court to declare illegal and a violation of Article 175(3) of the Constitution the appointment of retired bureaucrats to the FCR Tribunal, the third and last judicial forum under the FCR.

Lawyer also seeks orders for end to appointment of retired bureaucrats to FCR Tribunal

He also sought the court’s directions for the respondents, including the federal government, to progressively separate judiciary from the executive in Fata as a constitutional requirement.

The petition filed through lawyer Farooq Afridi stated the petitioner had the power of attorney of his father, Gul Badshah, in the ‘Qazi Gul versus Gul Badshah’ case about a property dispute.

It added that the case was initiated in the court of the assistant political agent, Khar (Bajaur), and the trial court had passed an order in favour of the petitioner on Mar 6, 2008.

The petition said the respondent (Qazi Gul) had filed an appeal against the order of the APA but the appellate authority had maintained the order of the trial court on Jan 7, 2010.

It added that the said respondent had filed a revision petition against the orders of two courts below and the FCR Tribunal had had dismissed that petition on Mar 19, 2011, followed by a review petition, which was also dismissed on Apr 30, 2012.

The petition said since Apr 30, 2012, the issue had been pending in the court of APA for execution but the APA and other respondents had been using delaying tactics by creating hurdles to the smooth execution of the order.

The petitioner requested the high court to direct Bajaur’s political agent and APA to implement the Mar 6, 2008, order of the APA, which was upheld by the appellate authority as well as FCR Tribunal.

He said Article 175(3) of the Constitution emphasised the separation of the judiciary from the executive progressively within 14 years of the enforcement of the Constitution but in Fata, the judiciary hadn’t been separated from the executive even 45 years after the Constitution was put into effect.

The petitioner said the provision of Article 175(3) of the Constitution was mandatory but the respondents, including the federal government, badly failed to implement it.

He said the independence of the judiciary was the cardinal principal of the Constitution spelled out in its Article 2(A) but the respondents failed to take appropriate measures to bring the FCR provisions in conformity with the Constitution and findings already arrived at by the superior courts by separating the judiciary from the executive.

The respondents in the petition are the Federation of Pakistan through secretaries of the cabinet, parliamentary affairs, law, and States and Frontier Regions divisions, KP government through chief and home secretaries, president of Pakistan through his principal secretary, KP governor through his principal secretary, FCR Tribunal through its chairman, and others.

dawn.com/news/1397332/court-moved-against-judicial-powers-of-fata-officers

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10 injured in grenade attack at D.I. Khan cultural festival

Muhammad Irfan MughalUpdated March 25, 2018

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Ten people, among them two security personnel, were injured when unidentified people hurled a hand grenade on the stage during a cultural festival in the SikandarJanoobi area, 35km off here, on Saturday.

The police and FC men cordoned off the area after the incident and started a search operation to track down the attackers.

According to an official statement, the festival was to be held in the open and police had advised the organisers not to hold it due to a fragile security situation in the area. It claimed that the organisers had taken the responsibility of providing security to the people.

The injured were identified as Mohammad Waqas, SamiullahSadozai, Khyal Mohammad, Rana Saleem, Malik Saifullah, Roshan ZameerLeghari, Azmat Khan and Yameen Khan. Names of the two injured personnel of Frontier Constabulary could not be ascertained.

The injured people were taken to the Parova hospital before being shifted to the district headquarters hospital. Condition of four of the victims was said to be precarious.

Police registered a case and started investigation.

dawn.com/news/1397423/10-injured-in-grenade-attack-at-di-khan-cultural-festival

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Pakistani court frees 20 in killing of Christian couple case

AP | Mar 24, 2018

LAHORE: A Pakistani court has acquitted twenty people suspected of involvement in the lynching and burning alive of a Christian couple accused of blasphemy in 2014.

ShahzadMasih, 26, and ShamaShahzad, 24, brick factory workers and parents of three, were burned alive in an industrial kiln by a mob incited by accusations that the couple desecrated the Quran in the town of KotRadhaKishan.

Police arrested scores of villagers and a court in Nov 2016 sentenced five men to death while ten others were given varying jail terms.

Prosecutor Abdur Rauf says the court Saturday acquitted twenty suspects indicted in the case at a later stage.

Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan and a mere allegation can often prompt mob violence.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistani-court-frees-20-in-killing-of-christian-couple-case/articleshow/63446480.cms

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Fazl says world powers want to keep religious parties away from power

The Newspaper's CorrespondentMarch 25, 2018

NAWABSHAH: The agenda of world powers is to keep religious parties away from power in Pakistan.

This was stated by MaulanaFazlurRehman, chief of his own faction of the JamiatUlema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) while speaking at a big public gathering the party called ‘Babul Islam Sindh conference’ held at the SRTC ground here on Friday night.

The maulana, who is also president of the recently reactivated religious alliance MuttahidaMajlis-i-Amal, criticised the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Pakistan’s politics. He alleged that people from NGOs were being sent to parliament through a well-planned conspiracy only to impose Western culture on the country.

He further said that it was the agenda of the United States to humiliate youngsters studying in madressahs so they may react [violently] and use their reaction as a pretext to close down the religious schools. He said selected people — nawabs, khans and feudals — were being imposed on the people as rulers. However, he added, the JUI-F would stand in the way of such people.

He criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party and said that a party with the motto of roti kapraaurmakan was grabbing roti from the poor and removing shelter over their heads. However, he pledged, the religious parties would rid the people of these “cruel” rulers.

Criticises NGOs, PPP and PTI

He said tampering with the blasphemy and Khatm-i-Nubuwwat laws was an international conspiracy and NGOs were playing a role in it.

MaulanaFazl said that although the Supreme Court had announced a verdict against the interest-based system in the country, the decision was not being implemented.

He said the PML-N and the PPP both had been running the governments on loans though they criticised each other for doing so. Now the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, led by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, was also following in their footsteps, he added.

He said that the rulers were unable to run the federal government, provincial administrations or even local bodies and every child was born with a huge debt burden. “So it is time to get rid of such rulers and save the country,” he remarked. “If Iran, Turkey and Sudan can come out of their economic crises, Pakistan can also do so.”

He said his party respected the army as it was their own national institution, but if the military establishment talked about politics or imposition of martial law, the JUI-F would resist such moves.

Maulana Mohammed Amjad, deputy general secretary of the JUI-F, Ameer Zaman, federal minister, Maulana Rashid MehmoodSoomro and others also spoke.

dawn.com/news/1397346/fazl-says-world-powers-want-to-keep-religious-parties-away-from-power

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14 more arrest warrants issued for Khadim Rizvi, other suspects in Faizabad sit-in cases

Mohammad ImranMarch 24, 2018

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) and civil courts on Saturday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan's (TLP) Khadim Hussain Rizvi along with other absconding suspects in 14 cases related to the Faizabad sit-in held last year.

ATC Judge ShahrukhArjumand issued arrest warrants in five cases regarding the Islamabad protests that were registered in the I-9 police station after Rizvi and other suspects refused to appear in court for the hearing.

The TLP leader along with other members of Rizvi's and other religious parties are facing multiple charges, including terrorism, in several cases that were registered in 26 police stations across the capital after the Faizabad protests.

A civil court also issued arrest warrants in nine cases lodged in the Industrial Area police station.

An ATC court has already issued arrest warrants for Rizvi and other leaders of different religious parties, including the Tehreek-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat and the Sunni Tehreek Pakistan, in six cases pertaining to the Faizabad sit-in.

The last arrest warrant was issued earlier this week after Rizvi failed to appear in court for a hearing. Despite multiple warrants, no arrests have been made as yet.

Islamabad protests

Religious parties held a sit-in at Faizabad Interchange in the capital following the passage of the Elections Act 2017, which they believed deliberately modified the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath as part of some conspiracy. The amendment to the oath had been explained as a 'clerical error' by the government and subsequently rectified through an Act of Parliament.

Nonetheless, the protesters had occupied the Faizabad Interchange, which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad through the Islamabad Expressway and Murree Road — both of which are the busiest roads in the twin cities.

Rizvi was one of the central figures of the protests that disrupted life in the twin cities for nearly 20 days.

The government had initiated several rounds of negotiations with the protesters, but failed each time.

The sit-in lasted nearly three weeks and culminated after an operation to end the protest by the government failed, following which the army brokered an 'agreement' between the state and the protesters, the terms of which included the resignation of former law minister Zahid Hamid.

The agreement had been seen as a complete surrender by the state to the protesters.

dawn.com/news/1397260/14-more-arrest-warrants-issued-for-khadim-rizvi-other-suspects-in-faizabad-sit-in-cases

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Pakistan condemns Lashkargah car bombing as death toll rises to 16

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 24 2018

The government of Pakistan strongly condemned the deadly car bomb attack near a stadium in Lashkargah city, the provincial capital of Helmand province.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan says “Pakistan strongly condemns the heinous suicide car bomb attack outside a stadium in Helmand Province as people were leaving the stadium after watching a wrestling match yesterday. We are grieved at the loss of precious and innocent lives in this brutal act of terrorism.”

The statement further adds that “We express our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

“Pakistan reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all forms and manifestations and expresses solidarity with the government and people of Afghanistan in this hour of grief and sorrow,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan said.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack.

The local officials in Helmand are saying that the death toll as a result of the attack has climbed to at least 16 people.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Omar Zwak said at least 52 people have also sustained injuries in the attack and several children are among those killed or wounded.

This comes as the provincial government said last night that 14 people have been killed and more than 40 others have sustained injuries.

khaama.com/pakistan-condemns-lashkargah-car-bombing-as-death-toll-rises-to-16-04709/

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South Asia

14 militants blown up by own explosives in Faryab province

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 24 2018

At least fourteen militants were killed or wounded in an explosion triggered by own explosives in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North said the incident took place in the vicinity of Pashtun Kot district in SarHawz area.

The source further added that the explosion left at least ten militants dead while four others sustained injuries.

The anti-government armed militant and terrorist groups including Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.

The anti-government armed militant groups frequently use explosives materials for the roadside bombings and car bombings to target the government staff and security personnel.

However, in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted besides such bombings incur casualties to the security personnel and in some cases the Taliban militants themselves are killed or wounded.

A total of 10,453 civilian casualties – 3,438 people killed and 7,015 injured – were documented in the 2017 Annual Report released last month by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office.

The report further added that the high number of casualties to the civilians were inflicted by suicide bombings and other attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

khaama.com/14-militants-blown-up-by-own-explosives-in-faryab-province-04711/

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At least 12 Killed, Wounded in Herat Mosque Explosion

March 25, 2018

At least three people were killed and nine others wounded as the result of an explosion that happened inside a mosque in Herat city, said local authorities.

“Three people have been dead and nine others wounded in the incident so far”, said Doctor Tamanna Head of the provincial Public Health Department to Ariana News.

Abdul AhadWalizada, spokesman of Herat Police Chief told that the incident took place around 1:00 PM inside Rasul-e-Akram mosque in the 7th Police District during mid-day prayer.

He added that the wounded people have been transferred to hospital.

However, eyewitnesses say that two suicide bombers wanted to enter into the mosque who were indentified and engaged with the mosques security men.

They said that one of the attackers detonated his explosives while the other was shot dead by the mosques security men.

ariananews.af/at-least-12-killed-wounded-in-herat-mosque-explosion/

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5 ISIS militants killed in Kunar and Nangarhar drone strikes

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Mar 25 2018

At least five militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed in a series of airstrikes conducted in eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East said the airstrikes were carried out by the US military using unmanned aerial vehicles.

The source further added that three militants were killed and one of them was injured in drone strike in DehBala district of Nangarhar.

According to Silab Corps, at least two ISIS militants were killed in a similar airstrike conducted in Chapa Dara district of Kunar.

The anti-government armed militant and terrorist groups including ISIS insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.

This comes as at least sixteen militants belonging to the ISIS terrorist group and Taliban were killed during the airstrikes and ground operations in this province.

The provincial government media office in a statement said the militants were killed in the past twenty four hours in Haska Mina and Khogyani districts.

The statement furhter added that fourteen ISIS militants were killed in US drone strike in Mehtar Khan arae of Haska Mina district.

At least twelve foreign insurgents were also among those killed, the provincial government said but did not elaborate further regarding the nationalities of those killed in the raid.

khaama.com/5-isis-militants-killed-in-kunar-and-nangarhar-drone-strikes-04713/

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Bomb inside Afghan Shiite mosque kills 1, wounds 7

March 25, 2018

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan official says a bomb went off inside a Shiite mosque in the western city of Herat, killing at least one person and wounding seven.

Police spokesman Abdul AhadWalizada said the toll may rise from Sunday's attack.

article continues below

No one immediately claimed responsibility, but an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan frequently targets the country's Shiite minority, which it views as apostates.

An Islamic State suicide bomber targeted a group of Shiites marking the Persian new year in Afghanistan's capital last week, killing more than 30 people.

stripes.com/news/middle-east/bomb-inside-afghan-shiite-mosque-kills-1-wounds-7-1.518647

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Atmar says country facing a sensitive situation, seeks national support for govt

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Mar 25 2018

The Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Mohammad HanifAtmar says the country is facing a sensitive situation as he sought national support to government during a meeting with the Afghans based in Washington.

The Office of the National Security Council (ONSC) in a statement said Mr. Atmar discussed government’s peace offer, fight against terrorism, efforts to bolster the Afghan Air Force, growing regional support for the peace efforts, and some other issues during his meeting at the Embassy of Afghanistan.

He called the country’s situation as sensitive and emphasized that a national support to the government and the current system is key to overcome the situation.

According to Armar, the Afghan people should increase their support to the government considering the regional situation.

The Office of the National Security Council also added that Mr. Atmar met with a number of senior US government officials in the Afghan Embassy in Washington.

During his meeting with the top civilian and military officials, Atmar discussed the peace offer to Taliban, efforts to attract regional support in the peace process, Pakistan’s stance, fight against terrorism, and the upcoming elections, the statement said.

According to the National Security Council Office, Mr. Atmar expressed optimisms regarding the future of the country but emphasized more work is needed while insisting on regional and international cooperation.

He also added that the new US strategy for South has proven to be beneficial for the region and called for more bilateral cooperation between Afghanistan and the United.

khaama.com/atmar-says-country-facing-a-sensitive-situation-seeks-national-support-for-govt-04715/

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Tehran supports Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process: Kharazi

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Mar 25 2018

Amid ongoing efforts to start direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban group, the Iranian officials have said Tehran support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.

Iran’s head of Strategic Council for Relations Syed Ali Naqi Kharazi reaffirmed Tehran’s support to the Afghan peace process during a meeting with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said Mr. Kharazi reiterated his country’s support to Afghanistan and said Tehran is prepared to support the Afghan government in all sectors.

He said Tehran supports the reconciliation process and peace efforts owned and led by the Afghan people.

According to ARG Palace, the two sides also discussed ways to enhance and strengthen the bilateral relations, specifically in areas of economic cooperation.

A statement by ARG Palace said the issue of balance in import and export deals between the two countries, expansion of Chabahar port, implementation of major projects for regional connectivity, fight against terrorism, and fight against economic criminal networks were also discussed during the meeting.

khaama.com/tehran-supports-afghan-owned-and-afghan-led-peace-process-kharazi-04714/

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New York man convicted of killing Bangladeshi imam, his assistant

2018-03-24

A US court has convicted a New York City man of first-degree murder for the 2016 killings of a Bangladeshi-American Muslim cleric and his assistant.

NY man in court charged with murdering Bangladeshi Imam, associate

Bangladeshi Imam, associate shot dead in New York

Convict Oscar Morel, 37, of Brooklyn, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced on Apr 18.

A state supreme court jury on Friday convicted Morel in the fatal shootings of imam MaulanaAlauddinAkonjee, 55, and his associate muezzin Thara Uddin, 64,— both Bangladeshi.

The shooting took place in the Ozone Park neighbourhood when the two were walking home together following afternoon prayers on Aug 13, 2016, horrifying the neighbourhood's Bangladeshi community.

Richard A Brown, district attorney of the borough of Queens, called the killings "a senseless act of gun violence in the middle of the afternoon and carried out in a close-knit neighbourhood filled with families and children," the New York Times said.

According to the report, Brown said in a statement that he hopes the verdict "will bring some closure to the family and many friends of the two men killed."

Thara Uddin Thara Uddin MaulanaAlauddinAkonjeeMaulanaAlauddinAkonjeeAkonjee was described as a peaceful man who was beloved within Ozone Park's large Muslim community.

AfafNasher, the executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, released a statement on behalf of the victims' families expressing gratitude for the conviction, the newspaper said.

"Maulana and Thara came to this country in search of a better life, instead they found Mr Morel's hatred," the statement said, according to the report.

"Nothing can ever replace what Mr Morel took from us, but this verdict helps show that this city will never accept this sort of heartbreaking violence."

MaulanaAkonjee, a father of seven, hails from Nabiganj in Habiganj district while Thara Uddin from Jangahati village of GolapganjUpazila of Sylhet district.

Oscar Morel appears for an arraignment at the Queens Criminal Court for his alleged involvement in the murder of Imam MaulamaAkonjee and Thara Uddin in Queens, New York, U.S., August 16, 2016. Reuters Oscar Morel appears for an arraignment at the Queens Criminal Court for his alleged involvement in the murder of Imam MaulamaAkonjee and Thara Uddin in Queens, New York, U.S., August 16, 2016. Reuters The two families emigrated to the United States from Bangladesh several years ago.

Defence lawyer Michael Schwed said he would appeal the verdict against his client.

When he was charged in court on Aug 16, 2016, Morel appeared calm and spoke little during his brief appearance. He agreed that surveillance video showed him at the scene of the murders, but denied being the killer.

Citing unnamed police sources, several US media outlets reported the law enforcers had found an unlicensed revolver hidden in a wall of Morel's basement apartment in Brooklyn that authorities believed he had used in the execution-style killings.

Police also found clothes in his apartment that matched what the gunman had been hearing, according to the media reports.

bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2018/03/24/new-york-man-convicted-of-killing-bangladeshi-imam-his-assistant

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Africa

Chad soldier, 20 Boko Haram terrorists killed in clash

March 25, 2018

The incident occurred on Friday on an islet named TchoukouHadje, the officer said, adding that five soldiers were wounded.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A Chadian soldier and 20 Boko Haram members were killed in a clash in the restive Lake Chad region near Nigeria, a Chadian military officer told AFP Saturday.

The incident occurred on Friday on an islet named TchoukouHadje, the officer said, adding that five soldiers were wounded.

“Twenty Boko Haram members were killed and a large amount of weapons was recovered,” he said. “The Chadian army lost one member.”

Two Chadian soldiers including a captain were killed in an ambush in the area a month ago in the first attack by the Nigerian terrorist group on Chadian soil since May last year in which nine soldiers died.

Boko Haram has caused the deaths of at least 20,000 people since it took up arms in 2009 in Nigeria.

Neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger have all joined the military effort by Nigeria to crush Boko Haram.

en.abna24.com/news/africa/chad-soldier-20-boko-haram-terrorists-killed-in-clash_886863.html

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Nigeria: Northern leaders score Buhari low, reject him for 2019

March 25, 2018

Elders, leaders of socio-political organisations and key stakeholders from the northern part of Nigeria have scored the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari low and, consequently, rejected him as their candidate for the 2019 general elections.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Elders, leaders of socio-political organisations and key stakeholders from the northern part of Nigeria have scored the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari low and, consequently, rejected him as their candidate for the 2019 general elections.

The leaders who met on Saturday in Kaduna insisted that the present leadership representing the region has failed in its mandate and, therefore, must be replaced by competent persons.

Leaders of the Northern Elders Forum, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Borno Elders Forum, and Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria were among those present at the meeting.

In a communique read by a member of the Northern Elders Forum and Chief of Staff to Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the northern leaders lamented that almost three years after President Buhari was sworn in, the economy, security and political fortunes of the region have continued to deteriorate.

To make matters worse, they said the Buhari administration is doing little or nothing to salvage the situation.

‘Not enough strong will’

President Buhari had swept to power promising to tackle insecurity, fight corruption and boost Nigeria’s economy.

However, the northern leaders believe his administration has not demonstrated enough strong will to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency, rural banditry and herdsmen/farmers clashes that have claimed scores of lives in many parts of the region.

They added that little effort has been made to tackle the poverty that has continued to ravage the region and the entire country.

“We demand immediate and decisive steps to improve the security of lives and economic assets in the North by the federal and state governments. Too many communities are at the mercy of attacks from sundry groups of criminals who appear to have unchallenged access to space and weapons,” Baba- Ahmed said.

en.abna24.com/news/africa/nigeria-northern-leaders-score-buhari-low-reject-him-for-2019_886842.html

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One policeman killed in blast near security convoy in Egypt's Alexandria

AFP | APUpdated March 24, 2018

A bomb exploded in a car in Egypt's Alexandria near the convoy of the city's security chief on Saturday, killing a policeman, the government press office said. At least four others were wounded in the explosion.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said the explosion occurred in the district of Roshdi as the head of the Alexandria Security Directorate was passing by.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion.

The blast comes just days ahead of Egypt's presidential election, in which President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is virtually certain to be re-elected.

It also comes during a wide-scale security campaign targeting militants in the restive north Sinai Peninsula and other areas.

Egypt has been under a state of emergency since April 2017, when suicide bombings struck two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday in an attack claimed by the local affiliate of the militant Islamic State group.

dawn.com/news/1397265/one-policeman-killed-in-blast-near-security-convoy-in-egypts-alexandria

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In Egypt, wall-to-wall el-Sissi banners inspire satire

APMarch 24, 2018

In a surreal scene from the 2001 film “Vanilla Sky”, Tom Cruise runs through a deserted Times Square before screaming in despair. In a satirical version widely shared in Egypt, the square is filled with campaign billboards for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Open your eyes anywhere in Egypt these days, and you’ll see billboards, banners and posters hailing the general-turned-president, who will stand for re-election next week against a little-known politician who has made no effort to challenge him.

The outcome of the election is a foregone conclusion, so the advertising blitz appears aimed at encouraging turnout to try and bolster the vote’s legitimacy.

In this March 18 photo, a cartoon by artist Amr Selim in Al Masry Al Youm Newspaper about the presidential election with Arabic from right to left that reads, "It has no color, no taste, no smell - water, soft drink, election,” in Cairo, Egypt. AP

In the meantime, the displays have provoked a wave of grim satire on social media, one of the last remaining avenues for dissent amid a sweeping crackdown that has escalated in the lead-up to the March 26-28 vote.

A still photo cropped from the 1997 blockbuster “Titanic” shows Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet seated on the doomed ship’s deck with an el-Sissi banner in the background. Another shows the stars of “Friends” gathered at their favorite cafe, with a sign outside saying: “Gunther and the rest of the staff at Central Perk support Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.”

The real banners are paid for by individuals and entities from all walks of life, from private businesses and loyal political groups to lawmakers, trade unions and state-owned companies. Even a small tea house or grocery store might hang a banner out front.

“You alone are our beloved,” swoons one banner, sponsored by a private company in the Sinai Peninsula. Another, with the image of a child, says “Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa supports Grandpa el-Sissi.”

Autocratic rulers across the Middle East have enjoyed similar displays of public adulation for decades. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi stared down from ubiquitous signs and billboards — until joyous crowds tore them down when the longtime dictators were overthrown.

During Egypt’s 2011 uprising, crowds tore down portraits of Hosni Mubarak and changed the name of a central metro station from Mubarak to Martyrs. When they took over Cairo’s Tahrir Square they transformed it into a sprawling gallery of opposition banners, artwork and revolutionary graffiti.

Egypt’s first freely elected president, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, was widely mocked, both online and off, during his divisive year in power, before being overthrown by the military on el-Sissi’s orders. Since then, the government has silenced its critics, arresting thousands of Islamists as well as prominent secular activists, and blocking hundreds of independent and critical websites.

Imad Hussein, the pro-government editor of the independent Al-Shorouk daily, says the proliferation of banners in support of el-Sissi is part of Egyptian culture.

“It’s like a traditional Egyptian wedding when the guests try to outdo each other with how much money they give the newly-wed couple to help them start their life together,” he told The Associated Press.

In this March 19 photo, election campaign banners for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi hang near the Giza Pyramids in Egypt. AP

Others see the banners, and the election itself, as the latest evidence of Egypt’s slide back into authoritarianism. A string of potentially serious candidates withdrew from the race under pressure or were arrested, and the resulting vote strongly resembles the one-man referendums held by Arab autocrats going back to the 1950s.

“Most of these banners are made by people as a means of self-preservation or as part of their pursuit of personal gain,” said Ibrahim Awad, a political scientist at the American University in Cairo. “The satire and sarcasm on social media show that a large segment of the population, especially activists, is not taking the elections seriously.”

A collage posted online has an elderly man waking up in his bed, shocked at the sight of an el-Sissi banner smiling down at him. Another has a statue of a nude Aphrodite with an el-Sissi sticker pasted on it. With her hand on her chest, she seems to plead with a passing museum visitor, saying: “Enough with the posters already.”

“The master of darkness and all death eaters support Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi,” declares a banner hung over a scene from a “Harry Potter” movie with the staff and students of Hogwarts seated around a conference table.

The banners have inspired other jokes that are circulating the old-fashioned way — by word of mouth. There’s the one about the voter who can’t decide between the two candidates — el-Sissi looking to his left or el-Sissi looking to his right.

dawn.com/news/1397261/in-egypt-wall-to-wall-el-sissi-banners-inspire-satire

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FG responsible if anything happens to Zakzaky, wife – Islamic Movement

March 25, 2018

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, has warned that the federal government will be held responsible should anything happen to the Sheikh lbraheemZakzaky or his wife while in their custody.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, has warned that the federal government will be held responsible should anything happen to the Sheikh lbraheemZakzaky or his wife while in their custody.

“Let it be clearly known therefore that, the Federal Government will be held directly responsible should anything happen to the Sheikh or his wife while in their custody.

“This government must be told some doses of the stark truth,” lMN, president, media forum, Ibrahim Musa said in a statement.

The movement noted, “In the last couple of days, news of a further deterioration of the health situation of our Leader, Sheikh IbraheemZakzaky, has filtered through and the government is denying him the necessary urgent medical attention.

“The Sheikh, who was shot severally more than two years ago, losing his left eye in the process, is at a great risk of losing the other eye except something drastic is done.

“He further suffered a mild stroke in January this year, consequent on the stress and psychological trauma he has had to face, associated with his poor physical condition in the illegal detention and the lack of adequate care. He has not fully recovered from that ever since.

“The lackadaisical attitude of the government is simply unacceptable.

“This disturbing situation has not made the government concede to at least obey the court judgement of more than a year ago, which declared him innocent.

“It was the heinous action of agents of the government that put him in this dire condition in the first place. It is also the agents of the present administration that have continued to defy justice and reason by continuing to hold him in very stringent and inimical condition.

“The same can be said of his wife, who is similarly faced with very serious health challenges of her own.

While calling on the government to live up to its responsibilities of acting by the rule of law, the statement added, “We seize the opportunity to call for a more concerted efforts by human rights activists, organisations, the international community and the general public to see that the Sheikh and his wife regain their freedom.”

en.abna24.com/news/africa/fg-responsible-if-anything-happens-to-zakzaky-wife-–-islamic-movement_886841.html

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Europe

Jailed British soldier, 23, who bragged about being a Nazi and killing Muslims is allowed to STAY in the Army and parade in front of Prince William

 

A jailed British soldier who bragged about being a Nazi and killing Muslim children has been allowed to stay in the Army and continue serving in the Irish Guards.

Guardsman Graham Bolger, 23, was even permitted to join the barracks' annual St Patrick's Day parade in front of Prince William and the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge this year.

The Army's Chief of General Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, was left less than impressed with the revelations and ordered an immediate investigation into why Bolger was permitted to continue serving.

Less than ten days after being sentenced for his vulgar comments Bolger was accepted back into his unit, 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, at Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow, west London, where he has since been seen on armed guard.

A jailed British soldier who bragged about being a Nazi and killing Muslim children has been allowed to stay in the Army and continue serving in the Irish Guards      +4

Guardsman Graham Bolger, 23, was even permitted to join the barracks' annual St Patrick's Day parade in front of Prince William and the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge this year       +4

A jailed British soldier who bragged about being a Nazi and killing Muslim children has been allowed to stay in the Army and continue serving in the Irish Guards. Guardsman Graham Bolger (pictured), 23, was even permitted to join the barracks' annual St Patrick's Day parade

Bolger was given 24 weeks jail time in January for racially motivated taunts of abuse to a woman over Whatsapp - where he boasted about being in the Army 'to kill people'.

Yet his sentence was cut dramatically thanks to a comrade's character reference, meaning the self-declared Nazi soldier was sentenced to just 12 months community service.

In one grim message Bolger wrote: 'If I was to kill all Muslims I wouldn't leave the child, I'd kill that too!'

The disgraced soldier was also filmed wearing a swastika and performing a Nazi salute at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, Yorkshire, reported the Sun.

In other messages, he worshipped Hitler as 'brilliant' and reportedly told pals he would have loved to have been in the SS.

The soldier learnt Nazi drumming and highlighted the Holocaust as a 'great thing' - because 'Jews are money-grabbing c****.'

Bolger's initial sentence was increased after the CPS successfully proved he was guilty of a hate crime. Yet it was later cut to 12 months community service as a result of a character reference to the court.

A source said: 'It is absolutely sickening. How on earth can such a vile a person be able to just stroll back and serve Queen and Country as if nothing ever happened?'

General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the General Staff, said: 'I have ordered an immediate investigation by a senior officer into whether the Army's response to this case was appropriate.

'The Army's values and standards underpin the professionalism and discipline for which we are known worldwide, and I will not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any form in the Army.'

Bolger pleaded guilty to two charges of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress which was racially or religiously aggravated at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on January 9 this year.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5539433/Jailed-British-soldier-bragged-Nazi-killing-Muslims-allowed-STAY-Army.html#ixzz5AklxdHA6

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French police find Islamic State notes in home of supermarket attacker

24 March 2018

A French judicial official said Saturday that police searching the home of the terrorist who killed four people in a deadly rampage a day earlier in southern France found notes referring to the Islamic State jihadist group that appeared to be a final testament.

Also found in the search of Moroccan-born RedouaneLakdim’s home was a computer and telephone, the official said.

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The official said there apparently was no mention in the notes of the attack plans.

Investigators also found three homemade explosive devices, a handgun, and a hunting knife inside the supermarket in the French town of Trebes, the official said, suggesting his intent to do further damage.

Lakdim was known to police for petty crime and drug dealing. But he was also under surveillance and since 2014 was on the so-called Fiche S list, a government register of individuals suspected of being radicalized but who have yet to perform acts of terrorism.

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India

2 Pak terrorists killed in Anantnag encounter

M SaleemPandit | TNN | Mar 24, 2018

SRINAGAR: Two Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists were killed in an overnight encounter in Dooru of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Saturday. Both of them were Pakistani nationals, cops said.

Acting on intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in Dooru’sShishtargam region, a joint team of Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Central Reserve Police Force and 19 Rashtriya Rifles of the Indian Army launched a cordon and search operation in the area. Holed-up terrorists opened fire at the forces, triggering a gunfight, said a police spokesman.

Two Pakistani terrorists were killed in the ensuing encounter and are yet to be identified. A huge cache of arms and ammunition, including AK-47 rifles, pistols and grenades, along with other incriminating evidence found on them revealed they belonged to JeM, said cops.

As a precautionary measure, train services were suspended and internet connectivity snapped in parts of south Kashmir, including Kulgam and Anantnag. Security forces have sanitized the area, said sources.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2-pak-terrorists-killed-in-anantnag-encounter/articleshow/63446193.cms

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Southeast Asia

Police, politicians accused of joining Sri Lanka's anti-Muslim riots

Tom Allard, ShiharAneez

KANDY, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Police and politicians backed by the country’s former strongman President Mahinda Rajapaksa joined anti-Muslim riots that rocked Sri Lanka’s Kandy district this month, according to witnesses, officials and CCTV footage reviewed by Reuters.

Sri Lanka's army soldier stands guard next to a damaged shop after a clash between two communities in Digana, central district of Kandy, Sri Lanka March 8, 2018. REUTERS/DinukaLiyanawatte/File Photo

Scores of Muslim mosques, homes and businesses were destroyed as mobs ran amok for three days in Kandy, the central highlands district previously known for its diversity and tolerance. The government declared a state of emergency and blocked social media platforms for a week to control the unrest.

The role of police and some local Buddhist politicians suggests the Sri Lankan government lost control of elements of its security forces, and that the violence was more than a spontaneous outbreak fueled by fringe Buddhist extremists and hate-speech spread on social media.

Rajapaksa has denied that he or other leaders of his party were involved. Police said the allegations against officers and politicians were being investigated.

Victims and witnesses, whose accounts were partly backed by CCTV footage seen by Reuters, described members of an elite paramilitary police unit, the Special Task Force (STF), assaulting Muslim cleric and leaders. Local STF commanders declined to comment.

“They came to attack,” said A.H Ramees, a cleric at a mosque where worshippers say they were beaten by police who were supposed to be protecting them. “They were shouting. There was filthy language. They said all the problems were because of us, that we were like terrorists.”

RuwanGunasekera, a spokesman for the national police force, including the STF, said a special investigation unit was “probing the deficiencies of the police in the incident”. A second unit was examining the role of political actors, he said.

The riots were the latest example of rising Buddhist nationalism and anti-Muslim sentiment in the region and have unnerved Sri Lanka’s multi-ethnic coalition government, which ousted Rajapaksa in an election in 2015, according to analysts and two sources familiar with the government’s deliberations.

Buddhists make up about 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s 21 million people. Tamils, most of whom are Hindu, account for 13 percent while Muslims make up about 9 per cent of the population.

Sri Lanka’s Law and Order Minister RanjithMaddumaBandara has said the violence in Kandy was “well organized” and pointed the finger at members of Sri Lanka PodujanaPeramuna (SLPP), a political party backed by Rajapaksa that scored a huge victory in local elections last month.

At a press conference flanked by senior leaders earlier this month, Rajapaksa said the accusations were politically motivated. In fact, the government fomented the violence to “get the Muslim vote” and to distract from its inadequacies, he said.

TRIGGER FOR VIOLENCE

The violence in Kandy was triggered by an attack on a Buddhist truck driver, H.G Kumarasinghe, by four Muslim men after a traffic dispute on Feb. 22.

As Kumarasinghe lay in a coma, calls for retribution and anti-Islam polemics flooded social media and the government ordered the deployment of 1,000 members of the STF.

Rioting erupted after his funeral 11 days later.

An excerpt of CCTV footage from the first day of attacks reviewed by Reuters showed police letting a large group of men through the cordon protecting the Noor Jummah mosque in Digana, a Kandy township.

The men rush into a multi-story building opposite the mosque. A local SLPP politician, Samantha Perera, can be seen pointing at the higher floors of the building.

Perera confirmed he was the person shown in the footage. He said he was trying to calm the rioters and only found out later the mosque had been attacked. “I am a good Buddhist. I am not instigating violence against anybody,” he told Reuters.

Cabinet spokesman RajithaSenaratne said Perera was under investigation for “attacking Muslim-owned shops and mosques with stones”. At least three other SLPP politicians, including a national politician, were being investigated and another SLPP councilor has been arrested for setting fire to a mosque, he said. All deny any involvement in the violence.

“There’s a political motive to discredit me, Mahinda Rajapaksa and the party,” Perera said.

Sri Lanka's Special Task Force soldiers walk past a damaged mosque after a clash between two communities in Digana, central district of Kandy, Sri Lanka March 8, 2018. REUTERS/DinukaLiyanawatte/File Photo

MONSTER BEYOND CONTROL”

Anti-Muslim sentiment has surged in Sri Lanka since 2009, when a long civil war against Tamil insurgents was brutally ended by Rajapaksa amid charges by a United Nations panel of experts of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings by the military and STF.

As in Myanmar, from where 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled an army crackdown in recent months, Buddhist hardliners in Sri Lanka have argued that Islam is a threat to the Buddhist way of life.

Though the level of violence is not comparable, the Sri Lankan Secretariat for Muslims, a civil society group, logged more than 600 attacks and threats to Muslims in the past five years, according to director HilmyAhamed, who added the rate of anti-Muslim violence had accelerated in the recent years.

“The fear that Muslims are going to take over, are going to deprive you of your welfare, is so widespread,” he said.

Veteran political analyst JayadevaUyangoda said Buddhist chauvinism in Sri Lanka was a “monster beyond control”, as local activists draw inspiration from the Buddhist extremists in Myanmar and Hindu radicals in India hostile to Muslims.

About 10 minutes after the incident near the Noor Jummah mosque shown in the CCTV footage, the mob returned via a back road, out of the line of sight of the mosque’s exterior cameras, and threw a petrol bomb into the mosque’s first floor office, according to witnesses Mohamed Niyaskhan, who said he was beaten and left bloodied, and the mosque secretary M.I.M Shukry.

The men burned Korans during 45 minutes of looting and destruction, they said.

Niyaskhan said earlier that day he had prepared food and drinks for STF members protecting the mosque, but they had left shortly before the attack.

“No STF, no police were there,” he said. “They had gone around the corner. Can you believe it?”

Later that day, eight to 10 members of the STF rushed the Hijrapura mosque, also in Digana, according to clerics and worshippers.

The police assaulted worshippers with batons, according to Ramees, the cleric.

CCTV footage shows police in riot gear striking Ramees and another cleric, M.S.M Nizam, four times with batons. A local Buddhist monk, Gerendigala Chanda Wimala, told Reuters he saw the men being manhandled by police and successfully demanded their release.

At about the same time, a local Muslim politician, Abdul Saleem Mohamad Fazil, and a friend Mohamad Faizal, were also attacked by members of the elite police unit, according to the victims and a witness, Father Christy Paul, the prelate at Digana’s Catholic church.

“Three STFs came through the back entrance of the house and started beating us,” said Fazil, who suffered a deep head wound and said he spent in a night in prison after being refused medical treatment.

“They grabbed some bottles from the landing and put them in a bag and said we were making petrol bombs.”

Father Christy said he heard the men’s screams and saw the police hitting them with batons. The men were cowering on the ground and not offering any resistance to the police, he said.

A local STF commander, asked about the incidents described to Reuters, declined to comment, citing restrictions on talking to the media. The law and order ministry referred to the police special investigation into alleged abuses.

Police say they have arrested more than 300 people involved in the riots.

reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-clashes-insight/police-politicians-accused-of-joining-sri-lankas-anti-muslim-riots-idUSKBN1H102Q

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Blocking Saudi nuclear plant opens door to China, US energy secretary says

Bloomberg | Updated: Mar 24, 2018

A US failure to build nuclear reactors in S. Arabia may allow countries that lack nuclear proliferation standards to step in, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said.

The Trump administration is in negotiations with Saudi govt as it seeks to build as many as 16 new reactors in the kingdom.

Donald Trump, with CIA chief Pompeo, Vice-President Pence and Energy Secretary Perry, host Saudi Crown Prince (unseen) for a working lunch at the White House. (Reuters Photo)Donald Trump, with CIA chief Pompeo, Vice-President Pence and Energy Secretary Perry, host Saudi Crown Prince ... Read More

WASHINGTON: A US failure to build civilian nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia may allow countries that lack nuclear proliferation standards to step in, Energy Secretary Rick Perry told lawmakers.

Perry, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, was asked about reports the US is considering a nuclear technology-sharing agreement that wouldn’t prohibit the Saudis from enriching nuclear fuel into weapons-grade materials.

"I think it’s really important to look at each of these agreements not in a vacuum," Perry said, without confirming whether the US was considering such a deal. "I always remind people that the alternative is no good - if Russia, China are who is going to be chosen to do the civil nuclear projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there will be no oversight."

US-Saudi atomic energy agreement complicated by Iran deal

Eager to extend a lifeline to Westinghouse Electric Co., Exelon Corp. and other US companies hurt by a domestic downturn in nuclear power plant construction, the Trump administration is in negotiations with the Saudi government as it seeks to build as many as 16 new reactors in the kingdom. Bloomberg first reported the White House was considering an agreement that lacked the so-called "gold standard" agreed to by the United Arab Emirates, prohibiting the enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear fuel and waste.

Perry told the senators that a US deal with the Saudis would not only involve American workers and technology but also provide oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Such a deal has been criticized by influential lawmakers and nuclear proliferation experts, and recent remarks by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the kingdom would develop a nuclear weapon if Iran did + has further set off alarm bells.

"I think the proliferation dangers are so great that we should be able to wield all of the influence we have which goes way beyond just this one transaction to insist that same standards we applied to the Emirates," said Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on panel, who noted that he “and many others" would oppose a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia that allows enrichment of uranium. “There should be no difference."

In an interview Thursday with Bloomberg Television, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said negotiations with the US have been "very constructive" and that "our counterparts from the American side have been understanding of the kingdom’s situation." The kingdom will be fully compliant with international treaties and regulations and its nuclear program will be subject to international inspection, he said.

"We want the best technology providers to be with us and the US is on that list," he said. "We hope that the US will join us and be part of the competition that is taking place later on this year and will be with us for the long term."

Iran Ties

In testimony before a House Armed Services panel Wednesday, Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said the Saudis were unlikely to buy reactors from Russia because of the country’s closeness with Iran, and that export reactors made by China and France have yet to operate and are behind schedule and over budget where they are being built.

Instead, Sokolski said, reactors made by South Korea are most likely to win the bid, but since they contain American technical content, Korean officials believe they cannot export it to the kingdom unless the Saudis reach a cooperation agreement with the US

"Washington has serious leverage over Seoul and what nonproliferation conditions it might chose to place on its Middle Eastern nuclear exports," Sokolski said in his written testimony. "It would be remarkable if our government chose not to use this leverage."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/blocking-saudi-nuclear-plant-opens-door-to-china-rick-perry-says/articleshow/63445426.cms

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Rohingya orphans find shelter in Islamic school

Sun Mar 25, 2018

Rohingya's orphan refugees who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh find their shelter in an Islamic school in the refugee camp of Balukhali in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

The Islamic school provides food and education for some 25 orphans who witnessed the brutal killings of their family members in an army crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

The school says it is committed to help them find their relatives while the orphans can learn the Holy Quran and Arabic language.

presstv.com/Detail/2018/03/25/556473/Islamic-school-shelter-Rohingya-orphans

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North America

The Cloud Act Will Give the U.S. Government Even More Power to Spy on Muslims

Mariam SleimanMarch 25th, 2018

On March 22, the United States House of Representatives quietly passed the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act as part of the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill. While conspicuously absent from the headline driven theater of the Trump administration, the CLOUD Act, which was first proposed earlier this year, is one of the most sweeping global digital privacy laws to be passed by Congress in years. Essentially, it relegates the negotiation of data exchange agreements with foreign countries to the executive branch, stripping Congress and the judiciary of authority. For example, if the Egyptian government asked the American government for its citizens’ emails stored on U.S. based servers, then the president, attorney general, and Secretary of State would have exclusive authority to order a company to turn that data over.   These exchange agreements also would not be subject to domestic U.S. law.  This means the U.S. government could turn over data to foreign law enforcement without needing to abide by local privacy laws.

While the ACLU has derided the bill as violating the human rights of foreign dissidents living, or having information stored, in the United States, the CLOUD Act’s real danger goes even further. Under the law, any data inadvertently collected on American citizens by foreign governments can be handed over to American law enforcement. This includes metadata, or the pieces of information that underpin communication content, including when a message was sent, who sent it, who received it, its duration, and where the sender was located when sending it.

In a climate where flying while Muslim is “probable cause” for committing terrorism, these provisions of the CLOUD Act could potentially erode the scant privacy rights that Muslims, Arabs, and Middle Easterners enjoy in the United States. Already, the privacy rights of Muslims, Arabs and Middle Eastern Americans are systematically infringed in the United States. In 2015, then-presidential candidate and current Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson said that religion is probable cause for searching the emails and calls of “Syrian refugees in the United States.” A few years before that, New York City was rocked when leaked NYPD documents revealed a robust surveillance program that exclusively targeted Muslim students.

Yet so far, the minimal conversation about the CLOUD Act has featured little analysis about how the bill will impact already vulnerable communities in America. In fact, the resistance to the CLOUD Act, led by the ACLU and co-signed by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has been shrouded with an orientalist, “us vs. them” hubris. Rather than engaging with the vast surveillance infrastructure built around the War on Terror in America and abroad, these organizations have opted to sanitize the American human rights regime, while demonizing foreign governments, indicting them as guilty, and letting America off the hook. Though it is surely concerning for the United States to formally cooperate with despotic governments, this has been happening for a long time, whether through politically supporting authoritarian regimes or selling them billions in American-made weapons. Much of what the ACLU is deriding foreign governments for, like detention and torture, the United States itself is also guilty of, though it mostly outsources these acts to foreign countries.

In a world that has been existentially deterritorialized, with data centers dotting every major Western country, our information does not always live in the same place we do. The time has come to deal head on with these issues. The CLOUD Act, a piece of legislation that only seeks to reinforce American hegemony, is not the way to do it.

muftah.org/the-cloud-act-will-give-the-u-s-government-even-more-power-to-spy-on-muslims/#.WreFg4hubIU

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/islamic-state-blow-up-sufi-shrine-in-iraq’s-kirkuk/d/114708


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