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Islamic World News ( 23 Apr 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Libya crisis: Nato strike hits Gaddafi compound

Pope Benedict urges end to fighting in Libya

Nigeria election violence 'left more than 500 dead'

Modi’s Gujarat in damage control

Suicide bomb attack kills four in Pakistan

Thousands flee clashes in south Sudan

2 US soldiers killed in Iraq

115 killings in city this month: Sindh, Pak Information Minister

Mulayam former CM, UP, India to oppose Centre’s move to acquire Waqf property

U.S. has left Pakistan base, says Pakistan Military Intelligence

US unleashes Predator drones on Libya

We have broken jihadis’ backbone: Pak Army Chief

Syria: 12 killed as funerals come under fire; 2 MPs quit

Fresh strikes as Libya vows to leave Misrata to tribes

Govt forces retreat in Libya’s Misrata

Syrian forces raid homes, Assad opposition mounts

2 Afghan police die, NATO chopper crashes in east

Seven militants killed, Afghan Official

Islamic banks’ assets grow over 30% in a year: State Bank of Pakistan

1325 non-Saudis terror suspect in S. Arabia

Pakistan rally halts NATO supplies for Afghanistan

Pakistan ups ante, asks US to review drone policy

US mulling drones for Pakistan

Opposition dragging Yemen into war: Yemen President

Six killed in pro-democracy protests in Syria

Egypt’s fallen president faces execution

Yemen president to step down

Yemeni president agrees to Gulf proposal

Iraq PM pledges not to ask for US troop extension

Arab demos against ‘tyranny’ justified: Iraqi Premier

Israel: UN recognition of a Palestinian state will turn us into ‘colonialists’

Britain can’t arrest Musharraf for lack of treaty, court told

Thai-Cambodian border fighting leaves 10 dead

EU says Syrian crackdown ‘intolerable’, urges reforms

Syrians bury their dead as bloody clashes go on

Militants’ backbone has been broken’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/libya-crisis--nato-strike-hits-gaddafi-compound/d/4510

 

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Libya crisis: Nato strike hits Gaddafi compound

April, 25 2011

By Ian Pannell

Supporters of Col Gaddafi chanted defiance from the ruins of a building hit by the air strike

A Nato air strike on the Libyan capital Tripoli has badly damaged buildings in Col Muammar Gaddafi's compound, officials and witnesses say.

Reports said at least two powerful missiles struck the Libyan leader's Bab al-Azizia compound early on Monday.

Three TV stations briefly went off the air following the explosions.

The blasts were among the biggest to hit Tripoli so far, reporters in the city said. Nato is targeting Col Gaddafi's forces as he tries to quell a revolt.

The BBC's Ian Pannell in Tripoli said the damaged buildings appeared to be the same ones that Col Gaddafi used to host a recent visit by an African Union peace mission.

In her first hand report she wrote: “Shortly after midnight there were at least two huge explosions in the capital. The target appears to have been office buildings that make up part of Col Gaddafi's compound. The devastation is significant with walls blown out, roofs caved in and debris spread over a wide area. Smoke rose from the shattered building as firemen sprayed foam on to the rubble. Some officials at the scene said there had been some injuries, others contradicted that. Nato says it has been actively targeting command and control positions, but it is impossible to know whether this site did have a military purpose. There certainly didn't seem to be any obvious evidence of it. For supporters of the regime rallying in front of the wreckage this was a personal attack against Col Gaddafi himself and they vowed to stay at the site despite Nato warnings to leave.”

Reports said Libyan Television and the Jamahiriya and Shababiya TV stations were off air for about half-an-hour following the blasts.

On Sunday, forces loyal to the Libyan leader bombarded areas of the western city of Misrata, despite the regime saying it had halted attacks to allow local tribes to negotiate with rebels.

At least six people were reported killed in the latest bombardment, which reportedly hit the city centre and three residential districts.

A captured pro-Gaddafi soldier told AFP news agency that loyalist forces were losing the battle for Misrata.

Shortly after midnight there were at least two huge explosions in the capital.

The target appears to have been office buildings that make up part of Col Gaddafi's compound. The devastation is significant with walls blown out, roofs caved in and debris spread over a wide area.

Smoke rose from the shattered building as firemen sprayed foam on to the rubble. Some officials at the scene said there had been some injuries, others contradicted that.

Nato says it has been actively targeting command and control positions, but it is impossible to know whether this site did have a military purpose. There certainly didn't seem to be any obvious evidence of it.

For supporters of the regime rallying in front of the wreckage this was a personal attack against Col Gaddafi himself and they vowed to stay at the site despite Nato warnings to leave.

"Many soldiers want to surrender but they are afraid of being executed [by rebels]," said Lili Mohammed, a Mauritanian hired to fight the insurgents.

On Sunday, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said the army was pausing to allow local tribes to settle the battle "peacefully and not militarily".

But Col Omar Bani, military spokesman for the rebels' Transitional National Council (TNC), said Col Gaddafi was "playing a really dirty game" in an attempt to divide his opponents.

"It is a trick, they didn't go," he Bani said in the eastern city of Benghazi. "They have stayed a bit out of Tripoli Street but they are preparing themselves to attack again."

British Journalist James Hider, who is in Misrata for The Times newspaper, told the BBC that although pro-Gaddafi forces encircled Misrata, their forces inside the city were themselves surrounded by rebel fighters.

He said their supplies were cut off and Nato air strikes were starving the main force outside the city of supplies from elsewhere.

Mr Hider said rebels hoped they would be able to regain control of the city centre soon but didn't think they would be able to defeat all the government forces until Nato strikes destroyed their biggest weaponry.

Human rights groups say more than 1,000 people have been killed in Misrata and many more wounded. Ships have been ferrying the wounded to hospitals in Benghazi.

The revolt against Col Gaddafi began in February, inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world.

Rebel leaders received a financial boost on Sunday when Kuwait announced it was giving 50m dinars (£110m, $180m) to the Transitional National Council.

Nato is carrying out air strikes against Libyan state forces under a UN mandate to protect civilians.

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13184594

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Pope Benedict urges end to fighting in Libya

April, 25 2011

The Pope has urged diplomacy and dialogue to end the conflict in Libya, in his blessing at Easter Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square at the Vatican.

Pope Benedict also called for relief to be delivered to all those in need as a result of the conflict.

Speaking about the Middle East, he expressed hope that peace would triumph over division, hate and violence.

He also appealed for solidarity with refugees fleeing conflict, particularly from African countries.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church appeared before of tens of thousands of worshippers.

Resplendent in white and gold, Benedict led the ceremony from an altar set up on the steps of the basilica, under a red canopy to shield him from rain or sun. Some 42,000 bright flowers and plants donated by Holland bedecked the square, to symbolise hope and love.

The 84-year-old looked relaxed although his voice cracked slightly as he intoned prayers during the sung parts of the Mass, correspondents say.

Christians worldwide celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter, a sign of eternal life following his crucifixion, and it is one of the busiest times for the Pope.

'Open your hearts'

As many as 100,000 people attended the Mass

His Easter message, or "Urbi et Orbi" (To the City and the World) as it is known, traditionally comments on the world's trouble spots.

It came in a year when pro-democracy unrest swept away the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia and is set to remove the president of Yemen. In Libya, however, it has led to a bloody civil war.

"In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue take the place of arms and may those who suffered as a result of the conflict, be given access to humanitarian said," the Pope said.

He voiced the hope that all citizens in North Africa and the Middle East might build a society "where poverty is defeated and every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person".

Pope Benedict urged "people of good will" to "open their hearts" to refugees from the turmoil in North Africa, a politically sensitive issue in western Europe, where Italy and France are wrangling over their freedom of movement.

Looking beyond the Arab world, the pontiff called for Ivory Coast to "tread the path of reconciliation and pardon" after its recent civil war, and prayed that Japan might find consolation after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

In keeping with tradition, the Pope ended his appearance by offering his Easter blessing in more than 60 languages.

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13181901                                                

                                      

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Nigeria election violence 'left more than 500 dead'

April, 25 2011

 The town of Zonkwa in Kaduna state witnessed some of the worst violence.

A Nigerian human rights group says more than 500 people died after presidential elections earlier this month.

The Civil Rights Congress said the violence happened mostly in the northern state of Kaduna and that the number of victims could be even higher.

Rioting broke out when it emerged that Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian - had defeated a Muslim candidate from the mostly Islamic north.

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes to escape the violence.

Mr Jonathan's presidential rival Muhammadu Buhari has denied instigating the "sad, unfortunate and totally unwarranted" events.

The Civil Rights Congress said the worst hit area was the town of Zonkwa in rural Kaduna where more than 300 people died.

"The updated figure is about 516," said Shehu Sani, head of the congress.

Correspondents say Nigeria is braced for possible further unrest over governorship elections on Tuesday in most of Nigeria's 36 states.

Muslim opposition supporters staged riots on Monday when the results of the election became clear. Churches were set alight and Muslims were then targeted in revenge attacks.

In the northern city of Kano on Sunday, many Christians celebrated Easter in police and military barracks where they had taken shelter from the riots.

Can Nigeria unite behind Goodluck Jonathan?

Eyo Anthony said he and his family fled when rioters set fire to shops in their neighbourhood.

"Although it has been calm in the past two days I don't intend to go back to my house... until after the governors' elections," he said.

"I know how I managed to escape with my family and I don't want to relive the same experience."

Many in the north felt the next president should have been from their region because a Muslim president died last year before he could finish his term.

However, some analysts say the violence has more to do with poverty and economic marginalisation in the north than religion.

The north and south also have cultural, ethnic and linguistic differences.

Mr Jonathan was appointed to the presidency last year upon the death of incumbent Umaru Yar'Adua, a northern Muslim whom he had served as vice-president.

He has described the violence following the election as "horrific" and "shocking".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13184298

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Modi’s Gujarat in damage control

By D. P. Bhattacharya in Ahmedabad

Amid claims and counterclaims IG Sanjiv Bhatt’s driver comes out in his support

SENIOR IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s explosive affidavit on the Gujarat riots and his indictment of chief minister Narendra Modi has caught the state government on the wrong foot. Efforts are on to salvage the situation and former director general of police ( DGP) K. Chakravarthi has come out with a statement in which he claimed that Bhatt was not present at the meeting on February 27, 2002 where Modi, apparently, had wanted the Muslims to be taught a lesson.

“ He ( Sanjiv Bhatt) was not present at that particular meeting held with the chief minister and other high- ranking officials. I have told this to the Special Investigation Team ( probing the riots) during my deposition,” Chakravarthi, who was the DGP then, said.

This was contrary to what Bhatt had claimed in his affidavit. “ On February 27, 2002, I was asked by the Control Room to accompany the DGP K. Chakravarthi IPS to the said meeting, along with all relevant information, possibly because ADGP ( Intelligence) G. C. Raiger was on leave on that particular day,” Bhatt’s affidavit read.

Amid the claims and counterclaims, Bhatt’s driver Tarachand Yadav has come forward to stand by his boss.

Yadav told the media that he had accompanied Bhatt on February 27, 2002, to the chief minister’s bungalow. Bhatt was travelling in Chakravarthi’s car, Yadav claimed, adding that another official, K. D. Panth ( assistant intelligence officer with the state intelligence bureau in 2002) — he was also named in Bhatt’s affidavit — had asked the driver to follow the DGP’s car.

“ It was the car of the DGP, when sir ( Bhatt) stepped out from our car and sat in that car.

Panth was standing there with the files. Sir waived towards him and said something ( which) I couldn’t understand. So I asked Panth where we have to go. He ( Panth) told me to follow the car,” Yadav said.

“ On following the car we reached the chief minister’s house. It was around 10.30 pm or 10.45 pm. Sir stayed there for around 25 to 30 minutes,” Yadav said.

Yadav’s claim would definitely not be welcome news for Modi, who did not seem his usual self while addressing a public rally on Saturday as part of the concluding session of the Swarnim Gujarat celebrations commemorating the golden jubilee of the state.

The chief minister’s vitriolic attack on the UPA government was conspicuous by its absence.

While Modi dwelt upon the developments in the state, he steered clear of making any statement regarding the ongoing controversy. Sources in the know indicated that Bhatt’s affidavit may have rattled the BJP leader.

Panth, meanwhile, seems to have become incommunicado ever since Bhatt’s affidavit became public.

BHATT had alleged that Panth had informed him “ that he had been called before the Special Investigation Team ( SIT) on April 5, 2011 and was virtually treated like an accused and was threatened with dire consequences”. A senior police officer said Panth may have gone underground and would resurface only after he feels secure that he would not be persecuted for deposing before the SIT. In another development, former additional DGP of Gujarat police, R. B. Sreekumar, has come down hard on the Modi government and the role of the SIT in probing the 2002 riots.

“ The SIT has proved to be a disaster in prosecuting and investigating the high and mighty, the modern day Neros, who conceived and executed a bloodbath in Gujarat.

“ Thousands were butchered with full support of the state machinery barring a few honourable exceptions,” Sreekumar said.

“ Could a handful of officers have planned and executed the scale of violence in Gujarat and the subversion and cover- up for nine years afterwards? If this is the truth then the political leaders there must be completely incompetent,” he said.

“ There was a complete failure of the state to arrest the subversion of the criminal justice system by the Sangh Parivar led by Modi.

“ Victims have been consistently denied justice by a series of measures ranging from intimidation of witnesses to suppression of evidence.

“ The most disgraceful conduct of the SIT is in not probing the Godhra incident. There was no effort to talk to the Uttar Pradesh policemen who accompanied the kar sevaks in their journey from Ayodhya to Godhra and witnessed what happened there.” With inputs from agencies

Mail Today

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Suicide bomb attack kills four in Pakistan

APR, 24 2011

At least four people were killed on Saturday when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle near a convoy of the security forces in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal region, Xinhua reported. The attack took place in the Salarzai area of Bajaur bordering Afghanistan, according to Express TV

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. It was not immediately clear if the victims were security personnel.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Suicide-bomb-attack-kills-four-in-Pakistan/H1-Article1-688896.aspx

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Thousands flee clashes in south Sudan

APR, 24 2011

Thousands of civilians have fled heavy clashes between rebels and south Sudan's army in key oil-producing Unity state, officials said yesterday.

"The fighting in recent days has been very fierce, and the people have been running away from the violence to safety," said Charles Machieng, commissioner of Mayom county, the area of heaviest fighting.

"Although we have no reports of fighting today (Saturday), assessments show that there are 3,800 civilians who have fled, many who are here in Mayom town because their houses have been destroyed," he added.

Clashes in the soon-to-be-independent south broke out on Tuesday between the army and the rebels, one of at least seven separate militia groups battling the southern government.

More than 800 people have been killed and 94,000 people forced from their homes in fighting since January, according to UN estimates, when southerners voted for freedom.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=182961

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2 US soldiers killed in Iraq

APR, 24 2011

Two American soldiers have been killed during a mission in southern Iraq, the US military said yesterday.

The fatalities raised to 4,450 the number of US soldiers who have died in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, according to an AFP tally based on data from independent website www.icasualties.org.

"Two US service members were killed yesterday (Friday) while conducting operations in southern Iraq," the military said in a statement without giving any other details.

Sixty members of the US military were killed in Iraq in 2010, according to icasualties.org, by far the smallest number since 2003.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=182960

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115 killings in city this month: Sindh, Pak Information Minister

April 24, 2011

KARACHI (PPI): Karachi witnessed 115 killings in the current month, among them 38 were target killings, said Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon Addressing a press conference at Sindh Secretariat, he said total 66 killings were reported between 13th and 23 April, among them 23 were target killings. He said the First Information Reports (FIRs) of 58 killings had been lodged. He went on to say that seven alleged target killers had been apprehended in 43 killing cases between 1st to 12th April. Moreover, 15 other accused were also arrested, involved in other murders. Of the total 23 targeted killings reported in last ten days, six each were reported in Gulshan and Orangi towns, two each in Gadap, New Karachi, Liaquatabad and Sadar towns, one each in Malir and Shah Faisal town. Eleven targeted killers were arrested from Police East zone, 10 from West zone and 2 from South zone. Police held 36 encounters in last ten days, while 85 absconders nabbed, Memon said. He said two repeaters, five revolvers and 127 pistols were recovered by the police during different raids. Of the total arrests made by police, 15 criminals belong to a banned outfit. Minister said police have increased patrolling and snap checking at various places across the city, while, law enforcement officers are after the absconding criminals. Referring to recent bomb blast at a gambling den of Karachi, Sharjeel said the club was officially established and registered since 1953 as cards club. It was also raided last year by the police and many arrests were made; however, all detainees were exonerated following the court orders. Responding to a query, he said Chief Minister Sindh had announced to bear all medical expenses of private TV channel reporter who was manhandled by some miscreants a few days ago.

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=qn&nid=842

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Mulayam former CM, UP, India to oppose Centre's move to acquire Waqf property

April 24, 2011

LUCKNOW: The Samajwadi Party will oppose the Union Government's proposed move to acquire Waqf property, including land, in the country. Outlining his party's stand on the issue, party president and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh said on Saturday that Waqf land belonged to the Muslims and any move to acquire it would be met with stiff resistance.

Mr. Singh threatened to launch an agitation with the support of Muslim organisations if the proposal is not withdrawn.

Mr. Singh said the Centre was finalising a proposal wherein Waqf land spread over the country would be acquired through a development agency. According to the SP chief, the Centre's proposal contained a controversial clause under which only 24 per cent of the land and property would be left for the Muslims with the remaining 76 per cent going to others.

“Though it has not been explained….who the ‘others' are, it is clear that they are non-Muslims,” Mr. Singh told reporters here.

He sais that Waqf properties belonged to the Muslims and if they are feeling cheated then their anger is justified. It is not clear among whom the income from the Waqf property would be distributed, he said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/24/stories/2011042462000700.htm

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U.S. has left Pakistan base, says Pakistan Military Intelligence

APR, 24 2011

Washington: Pakistan has stopped U.S. forces from using an airbase in Balochistan from where unmanned Predator drones were operating, in fresh signs of growing rift over the CIA operated strikes.

“Yes I can confirm Shamsi air base is no more under the use of American and 150 U.S. personnel stationed at the base have left,” NBC reported quoting senior Pakistani military intelligence officials.

The reports came in hours after U.S. drones struck in North Waziristhan region killing at least 25 people including foreign militants and some women and children.

NBC said the CIA had been using the base as a station to launch the drones to attack terrorists targets inside Pakistan's tribal areas.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/24/stories/2011042463321600.htm

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US unleashes Predator drones on Libya

APR, 24 2011

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon says the US air force has carried out its first Predator missile strike in Libya. A Pentagon spokesman, navy Capt Darryn James, said the airstrike happened on Saturday . He provided no details.

On Thursday, defence secretary Robert Gates disclosed that President Barack Obama had approved the use of armed Predator drones to improve the precision of strikes on Libyan government forces. Predators had previously been used in Libya only for surveillance missions.

Meanwhile, Libyan troops captured by rebels in Misrata said on Saturday the army had been ordered to retreat from the western port, and a rebel spokesman said soldiers had booby-trapped bodies and buildings as they fled.

The last large city held by rebels in western Libya, Misrata had been under a punishing government siege for nearly two months and hundreds of civilians have died in the fighting. "We have been told to withdraw. We were told to withdraw yesterday," one government soldier, Khaled Dorman, said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-unleashes-Predator-drones-on-Libya/articleshow/8069863.cms

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We have broken jihadis' backbone: Pak Army Chief

APR, 24 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's army has broken the "backbone" of Islamist militants in the country, the army chief said on Saturday in an apparent rebuttal to rising American criticism over the country's campaign against extremism.

It was unclear on what basis Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani made his comments. While the army has conducted several operations against militants close to the Afghan border , the country is routinely rocked by terror attacks and extremists still hold sway in many tribal regions.

"In the war against terrorism , our officers and soldiers have have achieved tremendous successes,'' he told the cadets at a military academy in Kakool.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/We-have-broken-jihadis-backbone-Gen-Kayani/articleshow/8070024.cms

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Syria: 12 killed as funerals come under fire; 2 MPs quit

APR, 24 2011

Amman : Syrian forces killed at least twelve people on Saturday when they fired on mourners calling for the end of President Bashar al-Assad’s rule at mass funerals of pro-democracy protesters shot a day earlier.

Human rights organisation Sawasiah said security forces killed at least 12 people during protesters’ funerals in Damascus and surrounding areas and near Izra’a.

The mourners were chanting “Bashar al-Assad, you traitor! Long live Syria, down with Bashar!”

Security forces also opened fire at a funeral in Damascus’s Douma suburb, wounding three people, witnesses there said. Mourners in Harasta, near Damascus, also came under fire from security forces, before staging a sit-in to demand the release of detainees arrested in the last few weeks.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/780496/

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Fresh strikes as Libya vows to leave Misrata to tribes

APR, 24 2011

NATO launched fresh air raids on Tripoli on Saturday as Muammar Gaddafi’s Government said it was ready to withdraw from Misrata and let tribes deal with rebels in the besieged city.

The strikes hit a patch of bare ground opposite Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya residence in central Tripoli and what looked like a bunker. Authorities who took foreign correspondents there said they were “a parking lot” and “sewers.”

They were launched after Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said the Libyan army had been given an “ultimatum” to stop the rebellion in the western city, 200 kilometres east of the capital Tripoli.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/333853/Fresh-strikes-as-Libya-vows-to-leave-Misrata-to-tribes.html

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Govt forces retreat in Libya's Misrata

April 24, 2011

TRIPOLI: Government forces retreated in Misrata but seized a rebel town in Libya's remote Western Mountains, as no sign emerged of Muammar Gaddafi being dislodged from power despite more than a month of air strikes.

"Misrata is free, the rebels have won. Of Gaddafi's forces, some are killed and others are running away," a rebel spokesmen said in the rebel coastal city, where a punishing two-month siege that killed hundreds appeared to have been broken.

One government soldier, Khaled Dorman, among a group of 12 being brought to hospital for treatment in Misrata, told from the back of a pickup truck: "We have been told to withdraw. We were told to withdraw yesterday."

But the overall trend of fighting in Libya was far from clear. Heavy fighting continued on Saturday around a hospital in western Misrata being used as a base by Gaddafi's forces.

And government forces captured the town of Yafran in Libya's Western Mountains on Saturday, a rebel spokesman said.

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=14609

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Syrian forces raid homes, Assad opposition mounts

April 24, 2011

AMMAN: Secret police raided homes near Damascus overnight, rights campaigners said on Sunday, as popular opposition to authoritarian President Bashar al-Assad mounted following the bloodiest attacks on pro-democracy protesters.

Security forces and gunmen loyal to Assad killed at least 112 people in the last two days when they fired at protests demanding political freedoms and an end to corruption on Friday and on mass funerals for victims a day later.

The attacks were the bloodiest, and the demonstrations were the biggest, since protests erupted in the southern city of Deraa in the strategic Hauran plain near the border with Jordan over five weeks ago.

“Bashar al-Assad, you traitor! You coward. Take your soldiers to the Golan,” protesters chanted on Saturday, chiding Assad for turning his forces on his own people instead of liberating the Golan Heights, where the frontier with Israel has been quiet since a 1974 ceasefire.

Security operatives in plain clothes wielding assault rifles broke into homes in the suburb of Harasta just after midnight on Sunday, arresting activists in the area, known as the Ghouta, or the old garden district of the capital.

Assad lifted an emergency law this week, in place since his Baath Party seized power 48 years ago, in a bid to appease protesters and ease international criticism of the use of deadly force against civilians.

Opponents say the crackdown on demonstrators and the arrests that followed show the move were hollow.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/24/syrian-forces-raid-homes-assad-opposition-mounts.html

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2 Afghan police die, NATO chopper crashes in east

April 24, 2011

KABUL: Terrorists ambushed an Afghan police vehicle, killing two on Saturday and a coalition helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan with no fatalities, NATO and Afghan officials said. The Afghan Interior Ministry said terrorists attacked the policemen in Dara Nur district in the northern tip of Nangarhar province. Two others were wounded in the attack, the ministry said. Fighting has escalated in the east as Afghan and coalition forces step up their attacks on terrorists along the Pakistan border and terrorists retaliate with attacks on pro-government forces and Afghan officials. A suicide attacker on foot detonated his vest packed with explosives on Friday afternoon at the entrance to a building used by education officials in Jayi Maydan district of Khost province, said Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai, police chief in the eastern province. ap

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\04\24\story_24-4-2011_pg7_7

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Seven militants killed, Afghan Official

April 24, 2011

KABUL (AIP): The Afghan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) killed seven opponents and arrested several more during separate operations in Takhar, Ghazni, Wardag and Kandahar provinces, ISAF and Afghan officials said Saturday. The ISAF media centre in a press release said the Afghan-ISAF combined forces launched operation against armed opponents in Ashkmash district of Takhar province yesterday. It added an opponent was killed and several more were detained in the operation. Meanwhile, the Takhar Police Chief Shah Jehan Noori told the AIP that the operation was conducted in Fakhrak area. He maintained that a Taliban fighter was killed while four more including a commander were detained. The ISAF press release said their air teams killed two persons in Andar district of Ghazni province yesterday who were planting ‘something’ in the ground. The Andar District Chief Sher Khan Yusufzai told media that the foreign forces detained five persons including a suicide bomber in the area early today. The Taliban have not said anything about death of their any fighter in Andar district. However, their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the AIP that the persons detained in Andar district had no links with Taliban. The ISAF press release said an opponent was killed and several more were detained during operation launched against a Taliban commander in Syedabad district of Wardag province.

Full report at:

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=an&nid=773

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Islamic banks’ assets grow over 30% in a year: State Bank of Pakistan

April 23, 2011

KARACHI: The asset base of Islamic banking industry expanded by 30 percent to Rs477 billion in 2010 from Rs366 billion in 2009, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said in a report on Tuesday.

Their non-performing finances (NPF) increased by 38.2 percent to Rs13.8 billion from Rs10 billion in 2009, the report added.

The central bank said that during the last quarter of 2010, Islamic banks’ assets grew by 12.5 percent to Rs477 billion from Rs424 billion in the quarter ended September 2010.

The NPF increased marginally during the quarter to Rs13.8 billion from Rs13.5 billion at the beginning of the quarter.

Recovery increased to Rs1.25 billion from last year’s figure of Rs0.8 billion.

Investment and financing rose 96 percent and 18 percent, respectively, on quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) basis. “The unprecedented surge in investments is attributable to issuance of long-awaited Ijarah Sukuk of Rs89 billion during the quarter,” the report said.

“The handy growth of 18 percent in financing could be attributed to seasonal uptake in credit.”

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=14592

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1325 non-Saudis terror suspect in S. Arabia

April 24, 2011

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia currently has 1,325 non-Saudis on trial for their direct or indirect involvement in terror plots or for conspiracy to participate in terror-group activities, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki told media in Riyadh Saturday.

Al-Turki did not specify the nationalities of the foreigners. When asked about the suspects' countries of origin, he added: "This has not been our policy to point out the nationalities."

Al-Turki pointed out that there are "very few" women among those who have been detained.

He said that 11,527 Saudis and non-Saudis had been arrested since Sept 11, 2001. Out of this number, 5,831 people, including an unspecified number of foreigners, have been released because they were found not guilty or had served their time. The official added that 1,612 people have been convicted of terrorism charges. Six hundred and sixteen suspects currently being investigated by the interior ministry, while 603 suspects are currently on trial.

http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=14620

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Pakistan rally halts NATO supplies for Afghanistan

APR, 24 2011

Pakistan halted NATO supply shipments to Afghanistan on Saturday after thousands of protesters rallied on the main road to the border to demand Washington stop firing missiles against militants sheltering inside the country. The stoppage was temporary and the demonstration was held by a small politi

cal party seeking a populist boost, but the events highlighted the vulnerability of the supply route running through Pakistan at a time of tensions between Washington and Islamabad.

Much of the non-lethal supplies for foreign troops in landlocked Afghanistan come through Pakistan after arriving at the port in the southern city of Karachi. Militants often attack the convoys, and last September Pakistan closed the border for 20 days to protest a NATO helicopter strike inside its borders.

NATO commanders said then that the halt did not affect the war effort. The alliance has been opening new routes into Afghanistan from the north in recent years to try to reduce its dependancy on the Pakistan route, which gives Islamabad leverage when negotiating with the West.

Police officer Khurshid Khan said supplies had been stopped until Monday morning because of the protest.

The demonstration was held by the political party of Imran Khan, a former captain of Pakistan's cricket team. He has called for peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban and has long opposed the drone strikes in the border region. Last year, there were more than 100 such attacks, the most yet.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Pakistan-rally-halts-NATO-supplies-for-Afghanistan/H1-Article1-689013.aspx

 

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Pakistan ups ante, asks US to review drone policy

APR, 24 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan foreign secretary Salman Bashir has said that the US needs to review its drone strike policy as it was "counter-productive" . The Dawn daily reported here that the remark was made at a joint briefing with US special representative Mark Grossman in Washington.

The latest drone strike took place earlier this week in Pakistan's North Waziristan region, killing over 21 people. A drone attack on March 17 had left 39 people dead. The US sees the drones as an important counter-terrorism tool but "that's not exactly the way we look at it" , Bashir was quoted as saying.

"The people of Pakistan consider these attacks – and the casualties that occur – as a source of concern. "This particular methodology is counter-productive and needs a review."

Grossman said, "All efforts against terrorism are designed to make life safer for Pakistanis and Americans" .

The two-day talks between them was aimed at paving the way for a strategic dialogue in Islamabad next month.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-ups-ante-asks-US-to-review-drone-policy/articleshow/8069982.cms

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US mulling drones for Pakistan

APR, 24 2011

The United States is considering providing unmanned drones to Pakistan for aerial surveillance despite tensions between the two countries over measures to combat terrorist activity, a US official said Friday.

The plan being studied would provide several dozen of the small Raven aircraft -- with a wingspan of just 1.4 meters -- equipped with cameras but without the capability of firing missiles, unlike the Predator or Reaper aircraft used by US forces.

The plans for the drones "are under consideration," a US official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Captain Darryn James, a Pentagon spokesman, said no final decision has been made.

"We are in discussions with our Pakistani partners about their requirements to continue the ongoing counter-insurgency campaign."

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=182956

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Opposition dragging Yemen into war Yemen President

APR, 24 2011

Yemen's president yesterday accused the opposition of dragging the country into civil war, as Yemenis boarded up their shops and businesses across the country in protest against his rule.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a speech in the capital Sanaa, called on Yemen's youth to form a political party according to the constitution and said the Arab state would not accept any tutelage "whatsoever."

"They (the opposition) want to drag the area to civil war and we refuse to be dragged to civil war," Saleh said.

"Security, safety and stability are in Yemen's interests and the interests of the region," he said.

Acknowledging that Yemeni students drew on the example of Egypt and Tunisia, Saleh said there was a "huge difference" in Yemen, but that his government would meet students' demands in the framework of the constitution and the law.

Up to 90 percent of shops, markets and schools were closed in the southern port city of Aden, a Reuters witness said. There were few pedestrians in the streets and almost no traffic.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=182953

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Six killed in pro-democracy protests in Syria

APR, 24 2011

Syrian forces killed at least six people on Saturday when they fired on mourners calling for the end of President Bashar Al-Assad's rule at mass funerals of pro-democracy protesters shot a day earlier.

Witnesses and rights campaigners said security forces killed three in Damascus's Barzah district and a further three when they fired at mourners trying to join funerals near Izraa in southern Syria, where at least 12 burials were taking place.

The mourners were chanting "Bashar Al-Assad, you traitor! Long live Syria, down with Bashar!"

"There was a heavy volley of gunfire in our direction as we approached Izraa to join the funerals of martyrs," a witness from the southern city of Deraa who came to join the burials told Reuters.

Security forces also opened fire at a funeral in Damascus's Douma suburb, wounding three people, witnesses there said.

Mourners in Harasta, a town near Damascus, also came under fire from security forces, before staging a sit-in to demand the release of detainees arrested in the last few weeks.

Protesters staged another sit-in after a funeral for four people from Irbeen, near Damascus. "We are not leaving until the political prisoners are released," one protester told Reuters by phone.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/10654/World/Region/Six-killed-in-prodemocracy-protests-in-Syria-Satur.aspx

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Egypt's fallen president faces execution or life imprisonment if found guilty

APR, 24 2011

All of Egypt was taken aback by Prosecutor-general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud ordering that the detention of deposed President Hosni Mubarak should be extended for a further 15 days. Not only did Abdel-Meguid’s order come after conflicting reports on the health condition of the deposed president, who is currently being held in Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital, but also after widespread rumours that he might not be taken to Cairo to face more extensive questioning or to be  placed at the hospital attached to Tora prison, where his two sons and most of his ex-regime’s henchmen are held in custody.

An official statement emphasised that Mubarak was questioned on two serious charges: ordering the killing of pro-democracy protesters in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the country, and helping business tycoon Hussein Salem monopolise the sale of Egypt’s natural gas to Israel, at very cheap prices against a hefty commission. Mubarak was questioned in the presence of his lawyer, Farid El-Deeb. A team of doctors are to examine Mubarak on 26 April to see whether he can be moved to Tora prison in south Cairo or to the prison hospital.

The questioning of Mubarak came just a few days after several of his defunct ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) senior officials and business tycoons came under investigation on charges of involvement in mass murder, corruption and profiteering.

Questioned as a witness, Mubarak’s 13-day vice-president and former chief of intelligence Omar Suleiman said on 18 April that Mubarak had never issued orders to former interior minister Habib El-Adly to open fire on protesters. “On the contrary,” said Suleiman, “Mubarak was very clear in instructing El-Adly and police forces to exercise restraint, and to seek the help of the army in peacefully containing the protesters,” said Suleiman. The 13-day vice-president rather placed all the blame on the former interior minister for the killing of protesters on the 28 January (the Friday of Rage). “Though El-Adly was instructed by Mubarak to exercise restraint and seek the help of the army, El-Adly opted to issue orders for security forces to withdraw and open fire on protesters to protect themselves,” Suleiman said.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/10607/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-fallen-president-faces-execution-or-life-im.aspx

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Yemen president to step down

APR, 24 2011

SANAA - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has agreed to step down within weeks in return for immunity from prosecution, putting him on course to become the third veteran leader toppled this year by street unrest.

Protesters, who have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands for months to demand the end of his nearly 33-year rule, said they would not stop street demonstrations until he leaves office once and for all.

“There is still one month until the president resigns and we expect him at any moment to change his mind,” said activist Mohammed Sharafi. “We will not leave the arena until Saleh goes and we achieve our goals of setting up a modern, federal state.”

Ibrahim Al Ba’adani, an opposition activist in the city of Ibb, said he was “surprised” that the formal opposition had accepted the principle of immunity for Saleh.

“We will continue sit-ins until the president goes,” he said.

Yemen, with 23 million people and demonstrators accuse Saleh of corruption and mismanagement during his decades in power. He took power in North Yemen in 1978 and presided over its unification with the separate state of South Yemen in 1990.

In recent years he has positioned himself as an ally of the United States against Al Qaeda, while also battling rebels in the north of the country and separatists in the south.

His opponents accused him of using the country’s perpetual security crisis to entrench his inner circle. Harsh crackdowns on street demonstrations only further angered the protesters.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/April/middleeast_April514.xml&section=middleeast

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Iraq PM pledges not to ask for US troop extension

APR, 24 2011

The Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has pledged that Baghdad would not ask US troops to stay in the country beyond a year-end pullout, his office said on Saturday.

Maliki said that the decision had been taken despite Iraq’s desire for stronger military ties with Washington, and alluded to political difficulties he would have in getting approval for any extended American presence.

‘We are not going to ask for an extension for US forces, in spite of our keenness to continue cooperation with the United States in all areas, including military,’ he told a South Korean news organisation, according to a transcript of an April 20 interview released by his office.

In a nod to domestic political opposition to any US presence beyond the end of 2011, he noted: ‘As you know, the process... does not only require the approval of the government, but also a vote in parliament.’

http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/international/16384.html

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Arab demos against 'tyranny' justified: Iraqi Premier

APR, 24 2011

Rallies across the Arab world are justified because of the "tyranny" and "oppression" many protesters suffer from, Iraqi premier Nouri Al-Maliki said in comments released by his office Saturday.

"We think that the protests are normal and expected because of what many of these people are suffering from -- tyranny, oppression, corruption and lack of development," Maliki told a South Korean news agency, according to a transcript released by his office.

"The people have the right to peacefully change their reality for the better. We, as a fragile democratic experience, can only stand by the people's legitimate demands."

The interview was originally conducted on 20 April.

Maliki's remarks come amid massive protests across the region, with large-scale rallies having taken place in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria, and armed rebellion ongoing in Libya.

Maliki had previously commented on the protests, warning last month in a BBC interview that the "intervention" in Shia-majority Bahrain by the Gulf kingdom's Sunni neighbours risked a sectarian war in the region.

He said in early February that Egyptians had the right to democracy, amid an uprising that would eventually force Hosni Mubarak from power.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/10660/World/Region/Arab-demos-against-tyranny-justified-Maliki.aspx

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Israel: UN recognition of a Palestinian state will turn us into ‘colonialists’

APR, 24 2011

A source in the Israeli government warned of disaster dubbed “September’s tsunami” with regards to an expected UN recognition for the Palestinian state.

Israel’s Channel Two broadcasted that the sources said with respect to the direct repercussions of recognising Palestine that it would have four detrimental results:

First, he said, the world’s perception of Israel will shift from an occupying state to a colonising state.

Second, countries that vote for a Palestinian state would enforce an economic boycott on Israel and cease trade and commerce with the Israeli state. The boycott will not be limited to the illegal settlements and their products, the source argued.

Third, Israel would be expelled from international trade organisations.

Fourth, the world would pressure Israel into “approving” the construction of the first Palestinian international airport in the West Bank.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/10641/World/Region/Israel-UN-recognition-of-a-Palestinian-state-will-.aspx

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Britain can't arrest Musharraf for lack of treaty, court told

APR, 24 2011

The British government could not execute an arrest warrant against former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf due to the absence of an extradition treaty between the two countries, a court was informed. The warrant was issued by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi city against Musharraf in the as

sassination case of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Chief prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar presented a written reply in the court sent by the British home department in this regard, the Online news agency reported on Saturday.

Zulfiqar told the court that the warrant was forwarded to the British home department and the Pakistan high commission. The British officials' reply to the Pakistani interior ministry has been submitted in the court, he said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Britain-can-t-arrest-Musharraf-for-lack-of-treaty-court-told/H1-Article1-688903.aspx

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Thai-Cambodian border fighting leaves 10 dead

APR, 24 2011

SAMRONG: Fierce clashes on the Thai-Cambodia border have left 10 dead and forced thousands to flee the worst bloodshed since a UN ceasefire appeal in February, officials said on Saturday.

The two countries exchanged heavy weapons fire for a second straight day on their disputed jungle frontier, the scene of a series of deadly gun battles in recent years.

Three Cambodian troops and one Thai soldier were killed on Saturday, according to officials in the two countries, a day after three soldiers died on each side.

Cambodia accused Thailand of using 75mm and 105mm "heavy guns loaded with poisonous gas" and said in a defence ministry statement that Thai military aircraft flew "deep into Cambodia's airspace".

Thailand denied the claims, which could not be independently verified.

A Cambodian field commander, Suos Sothea, said the gas caused some soldiers who inhaled it to feel weak but did not cause serious injury. He also accused Thailand of using cluster bombs.

Thailand recently admitted using controversial Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions during the February fighting but insisted it did not classify them as cluster munitions.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Thai-Cambodian-border-fighting-leaves-10-dead/articleshow/8066936.cms

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EU says Syrian crackdown 'intolerable', urges reforms

APR, 24 2011

BRUSSELS: EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said a brutal Syrian crackdown which killed more than 80 protesters was "intolerable," and urged Damascus to launch "profound political reforms."

"The killings are appalling and intolerable. All those responsible for these crimes must be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions," she said in a statement yesterday.

"I call on the Syrian government to carry out profound political reforms, starting with the respect for basic rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. It is essential that these reforms begin now and follow a concrete timetable."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/EU-says-Syrian-crackdown-intolerable-urges-reforms/articleshow/8069680.cms

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Syrians bury their dead as bloody clashes go on

APR, 24 2011

At least eight mourners were shot dead yesterday as Syrians swarmed the streets to bury scores of demonstrators killed in massive protests and world leaders denounced the bloodshed.

Activists said the death toll from Friday's nationwide protests could reach 100 and expected fresh protests to form after the funerals.

Friday's deaths signalled no let-up from President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces used live ammunition and tear gas against demonstrators nationwide, witnesses and activists told AFP.

The bloodshed erupted as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets for "Good Friday" protests to test long sought-after freedoms a day after Assad scrapped decades of draconian emergency rule.

The Syrian Revolution 2011, a motor behind the protests, marked the tone yesterday by posting on its main Facebook page a black banner with the word "Mourning" in English and Arabic.

It came as tens of thousands of mourners packed buses and headed yesterday for the southern town of Ezreh for the funerals of 18 people killed the previous day, a rights activist told AFP by telephone.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=182934

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Militants' backbone has been broken'

APR, 24 2011

Pakistan's military has broken the back of militants linked to Al-Qaeda and Taliban, the country's powerful head of the army said in a speech on Saturday that followed criticism from the United States that it wasn't doing enough to fight militancy.

"In the war against terrorism, our officers and soldiers have made great sacrifices and have achieved tremendous success," he said in a speech to army cadets at Kakul military academy, north of Islamabad, broadcast by state television.

"The terrorists' backbone has been broken and Inshallah (God willing) we will soon prevail."

Pakistan is crucial ally for US in its war against terrorism.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=182959

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/libya-crisis--nato-strike-hits-gaddafi-compound/d/4510


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