New Age Islam
Mon Nov 30 2020, 05:37 PM

Islamic World News ( 3 Jun 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

London Bridge Terror Attackers Shouted 'This Is For Allah' As They Stabbed Strangers in Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: A man on a stretcher is helped by authorities following the incident

 

Muslim Children Forced To Drop 'Religious' Names In Western China

In This UP Village, Hindus and Muslims Decide To Remove Loudspeakers from Temples, Mosques

Pakistan Works to Stay Off List of Terror-Friendly Nations

IS Killed 120 Civilians in Western Mosul: Military

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Europe

London Bridge Terror Attackers Shouted 'This Is For Allah' As They Stabbed Strangers in Street

Death Toll Rises to Six In London Attacks, Three Suspects Shot Dead

London terror attacks: Two French citizens injured

Pauline Hanson's anti-Islam post in wake of London attack slammed by Bill Shorten

'Unchecked multiculturalism is to blame': Australian sheikh backs Pauline Hanson's call to ban Muslim immigration after London terror attack

Jihad in London: A Few Thoughts About ‘Love”

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Southeast Asia

Muslim children forced to drop 'religious' names in western China

Seizing of Philippines City by Islamist Militants a Wake-Up Call for Southeast Asia

Indonesia Says 1,200 Islamic State Operatives in Philippines

Philippine casino attacker a gambling addict, not terrorist: police

Residents shield Christians in bold exodus from Philippines city

Myanmar Muslims face charges for holding Ramadan prayers

Hotel serves lavish Ramadan spread

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India

In This UP Village, Hindus and Muslims Decide To Remove Loudspeakers from Temples, Mosques

ISIS Failed In India despite Large Muslim Population: Home Minister

Terror funding case: NIA conducts fresh raids in J&K

Security beefed up for India-Pakistan Champions Trophy tie: Reports

India rejects Pakistan's claim of killing five Indian soldiers along LoC

PM Modi expresses anguish over London terror attacks

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Pakistan

Pakistan Works to Stay Off List of Terror-Friendly Nations

Accounts of Suspected Militants Frozen: Nacta Pakistan

'Unclean!' Pakistan Sewer Worker Dies of Ramadan Non-Treatment

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Arab World

27 Dead As Yemen Army Closes In On Presidential Palace

Over 70 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army Missile Attack in Deir Ezzur

ISIL Recruiting Fresh Fighters in Turkey

Syrian Army Dispatches Advanced Military Hardware to Borders with Jordan

People Drive Terrorists' Top Mufti out of Town in Northwestern Syria

Syria: Jeish Al-Islam's Second Top Commander Defects Terrorist Group

The regime forces keep trying to restore areas where the “Islamic State” organization advanced to in the vicinity of Deir Ezzor city

Top IS leadership targeted in Mastung operation

Over 1,200 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army's Recent Advances in Eastern Aleppo

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South Asia

Explosions Rock Funeral In Kabul; At Least 6 Killed

Taliban’s Shadow Deputy Governor and 10 Militants Killed in Kapisa

Ghani admits reforms needed in security, other sectors as violence soars

Noor strongly reacts to coordinated suicide attack targeting Kabul funeral

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Mideast

50 Years On, Israel Keeps Tight Grip on Palestinian Economy

Iran Mourns Demise Anniversary of Imam Khomeini

Gold coin winners of the Ramadan Quiz Contest

President underlines following Imam Khomeini’s aspirations

Ramadan offers from NBK Automobiles on Mercedes

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North America

'Saddam Befriended US Guards, Spent Final Days Telling Them Anecdotes'

US's Trump Renews Call for Muslim Travel Ban after London Attack

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Africa

Islamic Cleric Faults FG, Nigerian Army over Recruitment Procedure

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/london-bridge-terror-attackers-shouted--this-is-for-allah--as-they-stabbed-strangers-in-street/d/111403

 

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London Bridge Terror Attackers Shouted 'This Is For Allah' As They Stabbed Strangers in Street

Jun 4, 2017

A gang of at least three terrorists ploughed into pedestrians then got out and began knifing people

A gang of terrorists shouted 'This is for Allah' as they stabbed strangers near London Bridge last night.

At least seven are feared dead and 20 injured in the horrific events at around 10pm on Saturday night in the capital.

A van ploughed through pedestrians on the pavement at speeds of around 50mph before at least three men got at and began knifing people at random.

An eyewitness gave a harrowing account of the bloodshed.

Named only as Gerard, he told the BBC: "They were stabbing everyone.

"They were running up and going ‘This is for Allah’."

"The run up and stabbed this girl - I don’t know how many times - 10 times, maybe 15 times.

"She was going, ‘Help me, help me’ and I couldn’t do nothing."

London Bridge terror attack live: At least 7 killed and 20 injured in van and stabbing spree

"I threw something - there was a bike on the floor.

"I threw something at them like a bike or a chair."

It is believed the terrorists then targeted people in bars and restaurants in the popular Borough Market area.

Staff and customers hid in a cellar at one restaurant while there were reports of drinkers hurling chairs and pint glasses at the attackers.

Two attackers were killed by armed police who responded to the scene and a third may still be on the run, according to reports.

A picture posted online showed one of the suspects lying on the floor outside The Wheatsheaf pub with canisters strapped to a belt.

The Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed the incidents are being treated as acts of terrorism.

There has been no official claim of responsibility but attention will inevitable focus on Islamic extremists.

It is less than two weeks since suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people and injured more than 100 at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.

London's Ambulance Service said at least 20 casualties have been taken to six hospitals following Saturday's incident.

London Ambulance Service said: "We can confirm we have taken at least 20 patients to six hospitals across London following the incident at London Bridge.

"We have also treated a number of people at the scene for less serious injuries.

"We have declared a major incident and continue to work closely with other members of the emergency services.

"Our priority is to ensure patients receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible."

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Muslim children forced to drop 'religious' names in western China

 

Muslim children in China’s far western Xinjiang region are being forced to change their “religious” names and adults are being coerced into attending rallies showing devotion to the officially atheist Communist party.

During Ramadan, the authorities in Xinjiang have ordered all children under 16 to change names where police have determined they are “overly religious”. As many as 15 names have been banned, including Islam, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, Imam, Saddam, Hajj, Medina and Arafat, according to Radio Free Asia.

In April authorities banned certain names for newborns that were deemed to have religious connotations, but the new order expands forced name changes to anyone under 16, the age at which Chinese citizens are issued a national identity card.

The order coincided with millions gathering at 50,000 individual rallies across Xinjiang this week to pledge allegiance to the Communist party. More than a quarter of the region’s population sang the national anthem at 9am on 29 May and pledged allegiance to the Communist party, according to state media reports.

Xinjiang’s Muslims mostly belonging to the Uighur ethnic group, a Turkic people. The region has occasionally seen sporadic violence which China blames on international terrorist groups. But overseas observers say the vast majority of incidents are a result of local grievances.

“Terrorists are the scum of the Uighur people, they are the common enemies of the people of all ethnic groups,” said a Communist party cadre leading one of the rallies in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. “We must treat the enemy harshly and brush away the old to make a clean sweep, we should raise our swords high and in no way be lenient.”

State media accounts of the mass rallies gave no indication as to a reason for the sudden display of patriotism. Photos of some rallies showed paramilitary troops in full body armour armed with assault rifles attending the ceremony.

“Fundamentally these rallies are just a show of force, and part of the audience is the Han Chinese population in Xinjiang, to show the power of the state,” said Michael Clarke, a political science professor at the Australian National University and expert on Xinjiang. “But in terms of the Uighur population, it’s difficult to see how these kinds of mass rallies will win the hearts and minds over average Uighurs, and will likely do quite the opposite.”

Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, is more than 3,000km away from Beijing.

Human rights groups accuse China of restricting Uighurs’ freedom of religion and expression and authorities routinely deny passports to members of the ethnic group. The government has also encourages mass migration by Han Chinese to the area and they now make up roughly 45% of the population.

Xinjiang has seen an increasingly invasive security state since president Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, Clarke added, including hiring thousands of police.

The region is at the centre of Xi’s Belt and Road initiative, a $900bn development aimed at building closer ties within Asia and beyond by constructing large-scale infrastructure.

In recent months authorities began confiscating Qur’ans published before August 2012, declaring them illegal for containing “extremist content”, according to a report by US-funded Radio Free Asia.

On the same day as the mass rallies, officials in Xinjiang announced they had expelled a Communist party member for attending religious activities at a local mosque. It was not clear if the man was a government official or simply a private citizen who was also a party member.

Rules announced last year also forbid retired officials from attending religious ceremonies and ban them from holding and beliefs.

Additional reporting by Wang Zhen

theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/03/muslim-children-forced-to-drop-religious-names-in-western-china

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In This UP Village, Hindus and Muslims Decide To Remove Loudspeakers from Temples, Mosques

04 JUNE 2017

In what could be seen as a step to restore communal harmony in restive Moradabad village of Uttar Pradesh, villagers have decided to remove loudspeakers from temple and mosques.

According to a report by The Times of India, both Hindus and Muslims agreed to remove loudspeakers after tension simmered in the village for 3 years.

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Speaking to the newspaper, Circle officer (rural) Chakramani Tripathi told, “Police and district administration of Moradabad are full of praise for the initiative taken by the elders of both the communities who amicably resolved the issue in the holy month of Ramzan.”

In Uttar Pradesh, there have been multiple incidents of violence reported  in the past over the use of loudspeakers on places of worship of both the communities.

Last year, at least 20 people were injured  after Hindus and Muslims clashed over the use of loudspeakers for ‘azaan’ or call for namaz in a mosque, reported Hindustan Times.

Following an argument, the groups indulged in stone-pelting and firing, the report said quoting sources.

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Earlier this year, Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam, had found himself amidst a controversy for criticising sermons from the loudspeakers.

The 43-year-old singer had described the loud sermons from the loudspeakers as hooliganism in a series of tweets following which a fatwa was issued against him by a Kolkata-based cleric.

outlookindia.com/website/story/in-this-up-village-hindus-muslims-decide-to-remove-loudspeakers-from-temples-mos/299195

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Pakistan works to stay off list of terror-friendly nations

AP | Updated: Jun 3, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has frozen the accounts of 5,000 suspected terrorists, taking about $3 million out of their pockets+ , but Islamabad could still come under scrutiny at a crucial June meeting of an international watchdog that tracks terror financing.

Analysts and government officials say political foot-dragging and sympathetic supporters throughout Pakistan makes it difficult to cut off the money supply to banned terrorist groups.

Next month in Spain, the Financial Action Task Force will update its assessment of "high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions," Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel of the task force's communications department said in an email. She did not offer any specifics.

The 35-nation intergovernmental organization was formed in 1989 to combat money laundering. After 9/11, it also took on the role of fighting the financing of terrorism. Getting on the task force's "black list" could hurt a country's ability to borrow, if its banking system is considered a money laundering haven.

In 2015, Pakistan was exempted from its scrutiny after a similar session applauded the country's progress in tackling both money laundering and terrorist financing.

However, concerns have been raised by the resurrection of banned groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba under new names. Also worrying is the relative ease with which groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed appear to operate+ , openly running Islamic seminaries and fundraising.

"The government has to find a way to completely ban individuals and groups (suspected of terrorist activity) from operating. This is the only way," said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

Still, Pakistan's National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) has begun the painstaking work of devising anti-terror financing policies, freezing bank accounts of known terrorist groups and identifying those that have resurfaced with different names, according to its director, Ishan Ghani.

NACTA was established in 2013 through an act of Parliament; four years later, Ghani says it is "still in its formative stage."

When he took over NACTA 18 months ago, it had a staff of only 25, including drivers, despite a government promise to bring in about 800 people with the job of curbing money laundering and terrorism financing. Ghani blamed the slow start on a lack of government commitment and jurisdictional battles within the bureaucracy.

Since taking over, Ghani has increased his staff to 100, gotten a budget of 1.8 billion rupees ($15.7 million) and is updating a list of individuals suspected of terrorism. He also has devised a sweeping policy on which new, stricter laws can be enacted.

He said its current lists are outdated, with several suspected terrorists either dead or in jail, and the job of identifying individuals suspected of links to terrorism rests with Pakistan's four provinces.

The names have been slow in coming, Ghani added, blaming outdated systems, political foot-dragging and a lack of focus on counterterrorism+ despite military and police operations against suspected hideouts - particularly in Pakistan's tribal regions that border Afghanistan.

Politicians have been reluctant to shut down some of the reconstituted terrorist groups+ because of the local support they enjoy and the votes they bring in. Other groups, whose stated purpose is to wage war with neighbour India over the disputed Kashmir region, survive because of their suspected links to Pakistan's military and intelligence.

A Pak official shows a list of banned organizations, issued by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), in Islamabad.

Still, Ghani said he has had some success pressing provincial lawmakers into action.

Ghani recounted an incident last year during the holy month of Ramadan, when devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and fundraising often goes into high gear. He received reports that outlawed groups with terror links were openly raising cash. He put all four provinces on notice, warning them to stop the fundraising.

This year, NACTA is circulating a list of acceptable charities to which the faithful can donate those "not affiliated with terrorism," he said.

Hasan Akbar, executive director of the Islamabad-based Jinnah Institute, said Pakistan has made some progress tackling money laundering, "shutting down businesses that had a sweep not just in Pakistan but in Dubai and the United States."

There even has been progress against those groups that resurface under a new name.

"Organizations have been banned, but also in the last year funds have been seized of even those groups emerging as replacements for the banned groups," Akbar said.

Still, individual donations and support from small businesses provide a steady income to banned outfits that is difficult to track, he said.

"Challenges still remain in sectarian and jihadi groups where they get individual donations from traders and merchants in urban and rural areas," he said. "How do you stop that? That base of support is still there. This is hard to document."

Rana, of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, said banned organizations also collect money in mosques outside the country, then return home with the funds. Saudi Arabia is particularly lucrative, and the fundraising by outlawed sectarian, anti-Shiite groups is done openly, he said.

"Many banned organizations have very traditional methods of collecting money. They go to Saudi Arabia or the United Kingdom, for example, and go into mosques," he said, adding that the fundraiser usually is given a few minutes to speak to the congregation and asks for donations.

Ghani said that among the policies he is crafting is one to regulate cash transfers, a widely used practice in Pakistan. The policy will require anyone transferring 1 million rupees ($10,000) or more to identify the origins of the money.

"Today, you could carry 50 million rupees around in your car and no one would say anything, but we are coming up with a policy and laws that will require an explanation and the disclosure of the money trail," Ghani said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-works-to-stay-off-list-of-terror-friendly-nations/articleshow/58973455.cms

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IS killed 120 civilians in western Mosul: Military

03 Jun 2017

MOSUL, Iraq: Islamic State has killed 120 civilians over the past 48 hours in western Mosul, according to an Iraqi army officer on Friday.

Lt. Dargam al-Haydari with Iraq's Rapid Response Division told Anadolu Agency that some of the civilians were killed as they attempted to flee the clashes between Iraqi security forces and IS terrorists in the region.

"Some others were executed by the organization, while others were killed in bomb attacks carried out by the group," Al-Haydari said.

Over 150 civilians including 70 women and children were evacuated from IS-held Zanjili district by the Iraqi forces, he added.

Iraqi federal police said in a statement that the security forces had taken 40 percent of the district under control, and opened safe corridors for the evacuation of civilians.

Karim Ziyab, an officer with the federal police, said more than 400 civilians stuck in Zanjili district had been rescued by the security forces since Thursday evening.

Nearly 800,000 civilians have fled northern Iraq’s Mosul city since the start of the military operation in February while an estimated 180,000 others remain in IS-controlled areas, according to UN figures on Tuesday.

Iraq has been roiled by violence since IS seized vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014. Iraqi forces, backed by air cover from a U.S.-led coalition, are currently engaged in a widespread offensive to dislodge IS from Mosul, the terrorist group’s last stronghold in Iraq.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/03/06/2017/IS-killed-120-civilians-in-western-Mosul-Military

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Europe

London Bridge Terror Attackers Shouted 'This Is For Allah' As They Stabbed Strangers in Street

Jun 4, 2017

A gang of at least three terrorists ploughed into pedestrians then got out and began knifing people

A gang of terrorists shouted 'This is for Allah' as they stabbed strangers near London Bridge last night.

At least seven are feared dead and 20 injured in the horrific events at around 10pm on Saturday night in the capital.

A van ploughed through pedestrians on the pavement at speeds of around 50mph before at least three men got at and began knifing people at random.

An eyewitness gave a harrowing account of the bloodshed.

Named only as Gerard, he told the BBC: "They were stabbing everyone.

"They were running up and going ‘This is for Allah’."

"The run up and stabbed this girl - I don’t know how many times - 10 times, maybe 15 times.

"She was going, ‘Help me, help me’ and I couldn’t do nothing."

London Bridge terror attack live: At least 7 killed and 20 injured in van and stabbing spree

"I threw something - there was a bike on the floor.

"I threw something at them like a bike or a chair."

It is believed the terrorists then targeted people in bars and restaurants in the popular Borough Market area.

Staff and customers hid in a cellar at one restaurant while there were reports of drinkers hurling chairs and pint glasses at the attackers.

Two attackers were killed by armed police who responded to the scene and a third may still be on the run, according to reports.

A picture posted online showed one of the suspects lying on the floor outside The Wheatsheaf pub with canisters strapped to a belt.

The Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed the incidents are being treated as acts of terrorism.

There has been no official claim of responsibility but attention will inevitable focus on Islamic extremists.

It is less than two weeks since suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people and injured more than 100 at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.

London's Ambulance Service said at least 20 casualties have been taken to six hospitals following Saturday's incident.

London Ambulance Service said: "We can confirm we have taken at least 20 patients to six hospitals across London following the incident at London Bridge.

"We have also treated a number of people at the scene for less serious injuries.

"We have declared a major incident and continue to work closely with other members of the emergency services.

"Our priority is to ensure patients receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible."

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Death Toll Rises To Six In London Attacks, Three Suspects Shot Dead

Reuters | Updated: Jun 4, 2017

LONDON: At least six people were killed by attackers near London Bridge on Saturday, police said.

Police said three attackers drove a vehicle into pedestrians+ on London Bridge and then stabbed people in Borough Market.

"Armed response officers then responded very quickly and bravely and confronted the three male suspects who were shot and killed on Borough Market," Mark Rowley, Britain's top anti-terrorism officer, said.

"Sadly, six people have died in addition to the three attackers shot by police," he said.

"The suspects had been confronted and shot by police within eight minutes of the first call. The suspects were wearing what looked like explosive vests but these were later established to be hoaxes," he said.

The attacks come days ahead of a June 8 election and less than two weeks after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a pop concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The BBC showed a photograph of two possible London attackers shot by police, one of whom had canisters strapped to his body. Hours after the attack the area remained sealed off.

The London ambulance service said at least 30 people had been taken to six hospitals across the city. Three major London hospitals said that they were on lockdown to keep patients and staff safe.

A Reuters reporter said some time after the attack began that he had heard loud bangs near the Borough Market area.

Streets around London Bridge and Borough Market, fashionable districts packed with bars and restaurants, would have been busy with people on a Saturday night out. BBC showed dozens of people, evidently caught up in the attack, being escorted through a police cordon with their hands on their heads.

Witnesses described a white van careering into pedestrians near London Bridge and knocking over several people.

"It looked like he was aiming for groups of people. I froze beacause I didn't know what to do," Mark Roberts, 53, a management consultant, told Reuters. He saw at least six people on the ground after the van veered on and off the pavement.

"It was horrendous," he said.

A taxi driver told the BBC that three men got out of the van with long knives and "went randomly along Borough High Street stabbing people."

Witnesses said people ran into a bar to seek shelter.

"People started running and screaming, and the van crashes into the railing behind. We went towards Borough Market and everyone went inside (the bar). Everyone in the bar started pushing people from the exits," one witness who gave his name as Brian, 32, told Reuters.

Another witness, who declined to be named, his white top covered in blood, described a scene of panic in the bar.

"They hit the emergency alarm. There was a line of people going down to the emergency exit. And then people started screaming coming back up," the 31-year-old said.

"Around the corner there was a guy with a stab wound on his neck ... There was a doctor in the pub and she helped him. They put pressure on the stab wound."

BBC radio said witnesses saw people throwing tables and chairs at the perpetrators of the attack to protect themselves.

ISLAMIC STATE CALL

Islamic State earlier on Saturday sent out a call on instant messaging service Telegram urging its followers to launch attacks with trucks, knives and guns against "Crusaders" during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Similar attacks, in Berlin, Nice, Brussels and Paris, have been carried out by militants over the past couple of years.

"Following updates from police and security officials, I can confirm that the terrible incident in London is being treated as a potential act of terrorism," Prime Minister Theresa May said.

London's Thames river police said it was working with the lifeboat rescue service to help evacuate people caught up in the attack, described by police as a terrorist incident.

U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to offer U.S. help to Britain. The White House said he had been briefed on the incidents by his national security team.

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One woman told Reuters she saw what appeared to be three people with knife wounds and possibly their throats cut at London Bridge at the Thames river. Reuters was unable to immediately verify her account.

STABBINGS ON THE STREET

The incident bore similarities to a March attack on Westminster Bridge, west of London Bridge, in which a man killed five people after driving into a crowd of pedestrians before stabbing a police officer in the grounds of parliament.

Several witnesses also reported hearing gunshots around London Bridge.

"We were in an Uber (taxi) going towards London Bridge and suddenly we saw people running. The Uber stopped, we asked people what was going on - people said there was shooting," said Yoann Belmere, 40, a French banker living in London.

"Now the area is completely closed with police cars going one way and ambulances going the other," he told Reuters.

A witness told CNN two men had entered a restaurant in the Borough Market area and stabbed two people inside. He said a waitress was stabbed in the throat and a man was stabbed in the back.

The Manchester bombing on May 22 was the deadliest attack in Britain+ since July 2005, when four British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in coordinated attacks on London's transport network.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/death-toll-rises-to-six-in-london-attacks-three-suspects-shot-dead/articleshow/58982627.cms

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London terror attacks: Two French citizens injured

Reuters | Jun 4, 2017

PARIS: At least two French citizens have been injured in an attack in London on Saturday night, the French president's office said.

"French citizens are among the victims (of the London attack)," French President Emmanuel Macron's office said in a statement on Sunday.

A spokesperson at his office added that one of the two French citizens was seriously injured.

Late on Saturday night, militants drove a van at high speed into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing revellers on the street and in nearby bars, killing at least six people and wounding more than 30.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/london-terror-attacks-two-french-citizens-injured/articleshow/58984129.cms

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Pauline Hanson's anti-Islam post in wake of London attack slammed by Bill Shorten

Updated 4 June 2017

Senator Hanson took to social media in the immediate aftermath of the attack to say "stop Islamic immigration before it is too late".

It was accompanied by a graphic mimicking the "Run, Hide, Tell" emergency message released by British police earlier in the day.

UK police were telling people to run to a safe place and hide if they were caught up in a terror attack, before calling emergency services.

One Nation's graphic recasts that slogan as a call for a sweeping immigration overhaul.

"Australia is tired of Labor, the Greens and the Liberals RUNNING their campaign that Islam is good for Australia," it reads.

It also says Australia will not hide the link between "Islamic teachings" and terrorism, and Australians are tired of telling politicians that Islam is not compatible with Australia.

Mr Shorten said it was "disgusting" that Senator Hanson was trying to stoke a debate about immigration "within hours" of the attack.

"I'd just say to Pauline and everyone else, hold your horses," he said.

"You're in politics, whatever point you want to make you might get that opportunity — but today it's crass, idiotic and disgusting."

He also said the attack reinforced the need for Australians to "stick together".

"The exact win for terrorists and violent criminals is when they see communities start to fray and become suspicious of others," he said.

Ms Hanson was quick to hit back at Mr Shorten on social media.

"Labor started this under Whitlam, Frazer (sic) was almost as bad. Rudd & Gillard opened the borders. Bill Shorten will make the same mistake," she tweeted.

"The people of Britain have been let down by their leaders. It's so frustrating to see fools like Bill Shorten making the same mistakes."

In the US, President Donald Trump promoted his controversial travel ban in a tweet as events were unfolding in London.

"We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!" he wrote.

radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-06-04/pauline-hansons-antiislam-post-in-wake-of-london-attack-slammed-by-bill-shorten/1676344

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'Unchecked multiculturalism is to blame': Australian sheikh backs Pauline Hanson's call to ban Muslim immigration after London terror attack

4 June 2017

An Australian Muslim sheikh who campaigns against Islamist extremism says unchecked multiculturalism is to blame for the London terrorist attacks that have killed six people.

Adelaide Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi posted his call on Twitter following the United Kingdom's third jihadist attack in 10 weeks.

'Terrorism in the UK is growing week after week. Having extremists within our societies is not multiculturalism, it's suicide,' he tweeted to his 34,200 followers on Sunday.

He also supports One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's call to ban Islamic migration.

The Iranian-born religious leader, who moved to Australia from Iraq aged 12, later told Daily Mail Australia  'unmonitored multiculturalism is to blame'.

'We need to make sure that those coming into the West really want to be part of the West,' he said.

His calls comes after police in London shot dead three jihadist terrorists who had killed six people and injured at last another 30 during a knife rampage in central London.

The sheikh took to social media as Senator Hanson tweeted: 'Stop Islamic migration before it is too late.'

Asked about her call, Sheikh Tawhidi said the idea had merit although he stopped short of advocating a ban on all Muslims.

'I support a temporary ban on Muslims coming from the Middle East,' he said.

Sheikh Tawhidi said jihadists had a history of attending mosques that promoted sharia law - hardline Islamic law derived from the Koran and the Hadith, covering the life of the Prophet Mohammad.

'The majority of mosques advocate for sharia law without removing the violent parts,' he said, adding the imam who preached to the three London terrorists needs to be held responsible.

'You need to investigate and shut down the mosque that this terrorist used to attend.'

The 34-year-old imam said the political Left in the United Kingdom had allowed London to turn into Baghdad.

'The Left wants us to believe that terrorism is the result of unemployment,' he said.

'Since when did humans blow themselves up for not having a job?'

Armed police swooped on the London Bridge area of the UK capital after two incidents, which saw six people killed and dozens injured.

It came after three jihadi terrorists killed six people and injured at least another 50 others during a knife rampage.

The men 'of Mediterranean origin' had shouted 'This is for Allah' after they had mowed down 20 revellers in a white van hurtling across the London Bridge.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4570170/Sheikh-backs-Pauline-Hanson-s-call-ban-Muslim-migration.html#ixzz4j19ANkqx

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Jihad in London: A Few Thoughts About ‘Love”

June 4, 2017

This just happened in London: A van driving at high speed mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge late Saturday night before the occupants got out and began stabbing patrons at nearby bars and restaurants, witnesses said in an attack that police described as the latest in a string of deadly terrorist strikes to hit Britain this spring. Witnesses described a rampage that left a trail of bloodied bodies on the bridge and in the adjacent Borough Market — both of which are London landmarks. The low-tech but high-profile attack will raise questions about how British security services failed to stop yet another mass casualty strike after years of thwarting such attempts. Police said in a 4 a.m. news conference on Sunday that six people had been killed, and that officers had shot dead the three attackers. London Ambulance Service issued a statement saying it had taken more than 30 patients to five hospitals. If the past is any guide, the next few days will feature (once again) a lot of talk about love, including lots of folks saying that “love will triumph over hate” or that “love can’t give in to hate.” A bit of moral clarity is in order. It is right and necessary to cover the victims and their families with love and support — not just tomorrow but in the days and weeks and years to come. Innocent men and women will be scarred and traumatized for the rest of their lives. They should be loved and supported for the rest of their lives. It is right and necessary for individuals to continue to love their neighbors, but they should not be naive about their neighbors — some of them are jihadist murderers or support jihadist murderers.  Consequently, it is also “loving” to wake up to the reality of jihad and its pervasiveness within certain Muslim communities. You are not loving your neighbor if you believe lies, and your belief of lies makes you and your nation more vulnerable to evil. Finally, a nation that refuses to adequately protect its citizens does not love its citizens. Britain is a great nation, and there was a time when its greatness manifested itself in decisive and courageous force against the most terrible foes. There is much courage in Britain still. Will its government care enough about its citizens to unleash that courage against its mortal enemies?

nationalreview.com/corner/448264/jihad-london-few-thoughts-about-love

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Southeast Asia

Muslim children forced to drop 'religious' names in western China

 

Muslim children in China’s far western Xinjiang region are being forced to change their “religious” names and adults are being coerced into attending rallies showing devotion to the officially atheist Communist party.

During Ramadan, the authorities in Xinjiang have ordered all children under 16 to change names where police have determined they are “overly religious”. As many as 15 names have been banned, including Islam, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, Imam, Saddam, Hajj, Medina and Arafat, according to Radio Free Asia.

In April authorities banned certain names for newborns that were deemed to have religious connotations, but the new order expands forced name changes to anyone under 16, the age at which Chinese citizens are issued a national identity card.

The order coincided with millions gathering at 50,000 individual rallies across Xinjiang this week to pledge allegiance to the Communist party. More than a quarter of the region’s population sang the national anthem at 9am on 29 May and pledged allegiance to the Communist party, according to state media reports.

Xinjiang’s Muslims mostly belonging to the Uighur ethnic group, a Turkic people. The region has occasionally seen sporadic violence which China blames on international terrorist groups. But overseas observers say the vast majority of incidents are a result of local grievances.

“Terrorists are the scum of the Uighur people, they are the common enemies of the people of all ethnic groups,” said a Communist party cadre leading one of the rallies in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. “We must treat the enemy harshly and brush away the old to make a clean sweep, we should raise our swords high and in no way be lenient.”

State media accounts of the mass rallies gave no indication as to a reason for the sudden display of patriotism. Photos of some rallies showed paramilitary troops in full body armour armed with assault rifles attending the ceremony.

“Fundamentally these rallies are just a show of force, and part of the audience is the Han Chinese population in Xinjiang, to show the power of the state,” said Michael Clarke, a political science professor at the Australian National University and expert on Xinjiang. “But in terms of the Uighur population, it’s difficult to see how these kinds of mass rallies will win the hearts and minds over average Uighurs, and will likely do quite the opposite.”

Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, is more than 3,000km away from Beijing.

Human rights groups accuse China of restricting Uighurs’ freedom of religion and expression and authorities routinely deny passports to members of the ethnic group. The government has also encourages mass migration by Han Chinese to the area and they now make up roughly 45% of the population.

Xinjiang has seen an increasingly invasive security state since president Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, Clarke added, including hiring thousands of police.

The region is at the centre of Xi’s Belt and Road initiative, a $900bn development aimed at building closer ties within Asia and beyond by constructing large-scale infrastructure.

In recent months authorities began confiscating Qur’ans published before August 2012, declaring them illegal for containing “extremist content”, according to a report by US-funded Radio Free Asia.

On the same day as the mass rallies, officials in Xinjiang announced they had expelled a Communist party member for attending religious activities at a local mosque. It was not clear if the man was a government official or simply a private citizen who was also a party member.

Rules announced last year also forbid retired officials from attending religious ceremonies and ban them from holding and beliefs.

Additional reporting by Wang Zhen

theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/03/muslim-children-forced-to-drop-religious-names-in-western-china

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Seizing of Philippines city by Islamist militants a wake-up call for Southeast Asia

JUN 4, 2017

MARAWI, PHILIPPINES – At the beginning of the battle that has raged for the past 12 days in Marawi City at the southern end of the Philippines, dozens of Islamist militants stormed its prison, overwhelming the guards.

“They said ‘surrender the Christians,’ ” said Faridah P. Ali, an assistant director of the regional prison authority. “We only had one Christian staff member so we put him with the inmates so he wouldn’t be noticed,” he said.

Fighters from the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), menaced the guards and shouted at prisoners: but no one gave up the Christian man. “When they freed the inmates, he got free,” said Ali.

It was a brief moment of cheer, but over the next few hours the militants took control of most of the city, attacked the police station and stole weapons and ammunition, and set up roadblocks and positioned snipers on buildings at key approaches. The assault has already led to the death of almost 180 people and the vast majority of Marawi’s population of about 200,000 has fled.

The seizing of the city by Maute, with its allies on the island of Mindanao, is the biggest warning yet that the Islamic State is building a base in Southeast Asia and bringing the brutal tactics seen in Iraq and Syria in recent years to the region.

Defense and other government officials from within the region said evidence is mounting that this was a sophisticated plot to bring forces from different groups who support the Islamic State together to take control of Marawi.

The presence of foreigners — intelligence sources say the fighters have included militants from as far away as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Chechnya and Morocco — alongside locals in Marawi, has particularly alarmed security officials.

For some time, governments in Southeast Asia have been worried about what happens when battle-hardened Islamic State fighters from their countries return home as the group loses ground in the Middle East, and now they have added concerns about the region becoming a magnet for foreign jihadis.

“If we do nothing, they get a foothold in this region,” said Hishammuddin Hussein, the defense minister of neighboring Malaysia.

Defense and military officials in the Philippines said that all four of the country’s pro-Islamic State groups sent fighters to Marawi with the intention of establishing the city as a Southeast Asian “wilayat” — or governorate — for the radical group.

Mindanao — roiled for decades by Islamic separatists, communist rebels, and warlords — was fertile ground for Islamic State’s ideology to take root. This is the one region in this largely Catholic country to have a significant Muslim minority and Marawi itself is predominantly Muslim.

It is difficult for governments to prevent militants from getting to Mindanao from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia through waters that have often been lawless and plagued by pirates.

The Combating Terrorism Center, a West Point, New York-based think tank, said in a report this week that Islamic State is leveraging militant groups in Southeast Asia to solidify and expand its presence in the region. The key will be how well it manages relations with the region’s jihadi old guard, CTC said.

The Maute group’s attack is the biggest challenge faced by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte since coming to power last June. He has declared martial law in Mindanao, which is his political base.

His defense forces were caught off guard by the assault and have had difficulty in regaining control of the city — on Saturday they were still struggling to wipe out pockets of resistance.

On Monday, Brigadier-General Nixon Fortes, the commander of the army brigade in Marawi, was sacked.

An army spokesman said this was unrelated to the battle. But a military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Friday that Fortes was dismissed because not all his forces were in the city when the rebels began their rampage, even though military intelligence had indicated that Islamist militants were amassing there.

The assault came just months after security forces attacked the mountain lair of Isnilon Hapilon, a long-time leader of Abu Sayyaf, or “Father of the Sword,” a notorious Islamist militant group known for kidnapping. He swore allegiance to Islamic State in 2014, and quickly got other groups to join him. Most important among them was the Maute group, run by brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute from a well-known family in Marawi. In a video that surfaced last June, a Syria-based leader of the group urged followers in the region to join Hapilon if they could not travel to the Middle East. Hapilon was named IS leader in Southeast Asia last year. The Philippines military said Hapilon was likely wounded in the raids but managed to escape to Marawi, where he joined up with the Maute group. According to a statement on a social media group used by Maute fighters, the group wants to cleanse Marawi of Christians, Shi’ite Muslims, and polytheists — who believe in more than one God. It also wants to ban betting, karaoke and so-called “relationship dating.”

Some officials said Philippines security forces became complacent about the threat from IS after the January raids.

“We did not notice they have slipped into Marawi because we are focusing on their mountain lairs,” Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters.

Over the past few months, Philippine and Indonesian intelligence sources said, Hapilon’s forces were swelled by foreign fighters and new recruits within Marawi. Many of the outsiders came to Marawi using the cover of an Islamic prayer festival in the city last month, said Philippines military spokesman Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera.

Lorenzana said that Hapilon brought 50-100 fighters to join Maute’s 250-300 men, while two other groups, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines, together brought at least 40 militants with them.

On May 23, four days before the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, they launched their attack when Philippine forces made an abortive attempt to capture Hapilon inside Marawi.

After the military retreated in the face of a phalanx of armed guards, about 400 militants quickly fanned out across the city, riding trucks mounted with 50-caliber machine guns and armed with rocket-propelled grenades and high-powered rifles.

Within hours, they attacked the jail and nearby police station, seizing weapons and ammunition, according to accounts from residents.

The Dansalan College, a Protestant institution, and the Catholic Cathedral of Maria Auxiliadora, were both razed, and a priest and about a dozen other parishioners captured. They remain hostages.

A Shi’ite mosque was also destroyed, and a statue of Jose Rizal, the Philippines hero of the uprising against Spanish rule, was beheaded.

Herrera said the attack had the hallmarks of a professional military operation. “There was a huge, grand plan to seize the whole of Marawi,” he said. After the initial battle, IS flags flew across the city and masked fighters roamed the streets proclaiming Marawi was theirs, using loud-hailers to urge residents to join them and handing out weapons to those who took up the offer, according to residents. The military brought in helicopters to fire rockets at militant positions as ground troops began to retake key bridges and buildings, though some residents this has also led to the deaths of civilians.

“ISIS people were running on the street, running away from them. They were bombing them in the street (but) it hit our house and the mosque. Many other houses too,” said Amerah Dagalangit, a pregnant 29-year-old in an evacuation center near Marawi.

“Many people died when the bomb exploded,” she said, adding that a Muslim priest and children were among the victims.

Military officials said they had not received any report of the incident. Reuters could not independently verify the account.

The military has said 20 civilians have been killed in the fighting and that all were at the hands of the militants. It also says 120 rebels and 38 members of the security forces have been killed, including 10 soldiers who died from friendly fire in an airstrike.

Officials in neighboring Indonesia worry that even if the Filipinos successfully take back Marawi in coming days, the threat will still remain high.

“We worry they will come over here,” said one Indonesian counter-terrorism official, noting that Mindanao wasn’t very far from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

More than 2,000 people remain trapped in the center of Marawi, with no electricity and little food and water. Some are pinned down by the crossfire between the military and the militants, while others fear they will be intercepted by the militants as they flee, according to residents.

The bodies of eight laborers who had been shot in the head were found in a ravine outside Marawi last Sunday. The police said they had been stopped by the militants while escaping the city.

There will most likely be more civilian casualties in retaking the city, the military said.

“We are expecting that people will get starved, people will get hurt, people will get killed,” said Herrera, the military spokesman. “In these types of operations, you can’t get 100 percent no collateral damage.”

japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/04/asia-pacific/seizing-philippines-city-islamist-militants-wake-call-southeast-asia/#.WTO2sZKGN1t

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Indonesia says 1,200 Islamic State operatives in Philippines

04 Jun 2017

SINGAPORE: There are about 1,200 Islamic State (IS) group operatives in the Philippines, including foreigners of whom 40 are from Indonesia, the Indonesian defence minister told an international security forum Sunday (Jun 4).

Speaking in Singapore amid a bloody standoff between Philippine troops and militants fighting under the IS flag in Marawi city, Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu called the militants "killing machines" and urged full-scale regional cooperation against them.

"I was advised last night, 1,200 ISIS in the Philippines, around 40 from Indonesia," Ryacudu told the Shangri-La Dialogue, using another name for the IS group.

The threat of heightened terrorism, including the impending return of hundreds of Southeast Asian fighters who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq, has been a hot-button issue at the three-day Singapore summit also attended by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Hundreds of Islamist gunmen rampaged through Marawi, a largely Muslim city of 200,000 in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 after government forces attempted to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon.

Up to 50 gunmen are still controlling the city centre nearly two weeks after the start of fighting that has killed 177 people including 120 militants.

"How can we tackle these foreign fighters? We have to be comprehensive," said Ryacudu, a retired general.

"We have to find... complete ways but we must exercise caution, they are killing machines. Their aim is to kill other people so that's why it's our responsibility that we have common understanding, consensus and common proceedings on how to fight these foreign fighters."

Philippine Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David, speaking at the same forum, said the 1,200 figure for total IS fighters in the Philippines mentioned by Indonesia was new to him.

"I really don't know, my figure is about 250-400, a lot less," he told reporters.

But David said there were 40 foreign IS fighters among those who seized parts of Marawi, eight of whom have been killed by government forces.

Earlier, Philippine officials said the slain foreign fighters were from Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya.

"Our intelligence estimates that there are about 40 foreigners that fought in the Marawi incident," David said.

The Philippine official added that the foreign fighters used "back channels" in the Sulu and Celebes Seas near the borders of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia to enter the southern island of Mindanao and link up with local terror groups.

"That's why they were able to muster the operations in the area of Marawi," David said.

channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesia-says-1-200-islamic-state-operatives-in-philippines-8910832

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Philippine casino attacker a gambling addict, not terrorist: police

 

An armed man who killed 37 people when he set fire to a casino in the Philippine capital was a father-of-three from Manila motivated by heavy gambling debts and not terrorism, police said Sunday.

The identification of the assailant as Jessie Javier Carlos, a Catholic, proves that claims by the militant Islamic State (IS) group that it was responsible for Friday's attack were false, Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters.

“We reiterate that this is not an act of terrorism but this incident is confined to the act of one man alone,” Albayalde said as he sat alongside Carlos's parents and wife at a press conference held to announce the identity of the attacker.

Albayalde said Carlos was aged 43, had three children and had been banned from all casinos in April by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) following a request from his family because of his gambling addiction.

“He is heavily indebted due to being hooked to casino gambling. This became the cause of misunderstanding with his wife and parents,” Albayalde said.

“He was barred by Pagcor from all casinos because of the request of next of kin. This could have probably triggered him. That's why he was so mad at casinos.”

Carlos walked into the Resorts World casino and hotel complex in Manila on Friday with an M4 automatic rifle and a bottle of petrol, before setting alight a number of different rooms in the complex, according to police accounts.

Thirty-seven people died in the fires, dozens more were injured in a stampede to escape, and Carlos was found dead about five hours later in a hotel room after committing suicide by setting fire to himself, police had said.

Security film of the incident released on Saturday showed the gunman calmly and slowly walking through the casino and firing into the air most of the time, apparently as warning shots for people to leave.

At one point he fired at security guards when they confronted him, but missed. After they ran away, he calmly walked up some stairs.

The video also showed him breaking into a secure room where chips and money were being kept, apparently intent on stealing what he could.

Carlos set alight many gambling tables, which police said was probably an attempt to create a diversion so he could escape.

Begging for forgiveness

At Sunday's press conference, Carlos's tearful mother said he had been a good man who committed the violence because of his gambling addiction.

“We ask for forgiveness. My son was a good child to us. But since he started playing at the casinos, that's all he did. He did not visit us. It was painful for us not to see him,” said his mother, Teodora Carlos.

Albayalde said Carlos had worked in the Department of Finance but had been sacked because he had lied on official forms about unexplained assets and properties.

A 2014 government press release explaining the sacking described Carlos as a tax specialist, who had been fired for not declaring properties and for taking mysterious loans far more than a bank would lend.

Authorities had repeatedly insisted on Friday and Saturday the attack was not terrorism-related but a bizarre robbery attempt by a deranged man.

But IS claimed responsibility, with a report on its self-styled Amaq news agency saying its “fighters” carried out the attack.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly warned that IS is gaining a greater foothold in the mainly Catholic Philippines.

Those concerns escalated when militants flying black IS flags rampaged through the Philippines' main Islamic city in the south nearly two weeks ago, triggering clashes that are still continuing and have left roughly 200 people dead.

Duterte declared martial law in the south of the Philippines on May 23 in a bid to quash the rising IS threat, and said he was prepared to impose military rule nationwide if terrorism spread.

However Duterte and his police chiefs insisted that the casino attack was not terrorism-related.

After identifying Carlos as the attacker on Sunday, Albayalde repeatedly sought to discredit IS.

“We will not allow people or any threat group to use this situation to advance their propaganda or personal causes, whether foreign or local,” Albayalde said.

dawn.com/news/1337371/philippine-casino-attacker-a-gambling-addict-not-terrorist-police

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Residents shield Christians in bold exodus from Philippines city

4 June 2017

More than 160 civilians walked out of the besieged Philippines city of Marawi just after dawn on Saturday, deceiving Islamist fighters they encountered by hiding the identity of the many Christians among them.

The audacious exodus came after text message warnings that a major assault by Philippines aircraft and ground troops was imminent in the centre of the southern city, where some 250 militants and more than 2,000 civilians remain trapped.

“We saved ourselves,” said Norodin Alonto Lucman, a well-known former politician and traditional clan leader who sheltered 71 people, including more than 50 Christians, in his home during the battle that erupted on May 23 in the town of more than 200,000 on the southern island of Mindanao.

“There's this plan to bomb the whole city if ISIS don't agree to the demands of the government,” he said, referring to local and foreign fighters who have sworn allegiance to the ultra-radical militant Islamic State (IS) group.

Many evacuees told Reuters they had received text messages warning of a bombing campaign.

“We had a tip from the general commander that we should go out,” said Leny Paccon, who gave refuge to 54 people in her home, including 44 Christians. “When I got the text, immediately we go out ... about 7 o'clock.”

By then, Lucman and his guests had begun their escape march from another area, holding white flags and moving briskly.

“As we walked, others joined us,” he told reporters. “We had to pass through a lot of snipers.” Some of the civilians were stopped and asked if there were any Christians among them, said Jaime Daligdig, a Christian construction worker.

“We shouted 'Allahu akbar',” he told Reuters, adding that thanks to that Muslim rallying cry they were allowed to pass.

Those who fled included teachers from Dansalan College, a protestant school torched on the first day of the battle.

Christians have been killed and taken hostage by the militants, a mix of local fighters from the Maute Group and other Islamist outfits, as well as foreigners who joined the cause under the IS banner.

Explore: Foreigners involved in deadly Philippine urban battle: govt

The vast majority of Filipinos are Christian, but Mindanao has a larger proportion of Muslims and Islam is followed by the vast majority in Marawi City.

Rotting bodies, debris

Lucman said that many of those trapped were on the verge of starvation, which also gave them the courage to leave.

He described a scene of devastation in the town centre, where the streets were strewn with rotting bodies and debris. “I almost puked as we were walking,” Lucman said, estimating that there were more than 1,000 dead.

Official government estimates recorded 120 militants, 38 government forces and 20 civilians as dead on Saturday.

Lucman and Paccon said militants had knocked on their doors while they sheltered the terrified Christians. They shooed them away saying there were women and children inside.

Adding to the anxiety, both said they were within 100 metres of militant command posts. Although the Philippines military knew civilians remained in their homes, ordnance exploded nearby repeatedly over the past week.

Resident Asnaira Asis said militants knocked on her door too, offering money or food if she handed over her 11-year-old son. “They wanted him to be a fighter,” she told Reuters after joining the morning exodus. “I said no.”

After an impromptu ceasefire as the civilians evacuated, bombing and ground skirmishes continued on Saturday, and FA50 fighter jets dropped bombs on the town centre.

Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the conflict would be over soon but he gave no operational plans. He said there were 250 militants still in the town, far more than the 20-30 cited by the military on Friday.

“They can still put up a good fight. That's why it's giving us difficulty in clearing the area,” he told a news conference.

Lorenzana said there was still a big cohort of foreign fighters in Marawi.

Officials have said militants from as far away as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Chechnya and Morocco joined the battle, raising concerns that IS is seeking to establish a regional foothold there.

dawn.com/news/1337198/residents-shield-christians-in-bold-exodus-from-philippines-city

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Myanmar Muslims face charges for holding Ramadan prayers

Friday 2 June 2017

Authorities in Myanmar have charged three Muslim men for holding Ramadan prayers in the street after the local school where they used to worship was shut down by a nationalist mob.

Police brought the charges after about 50 Muslims gathered to pray on Wednesday on a road in Yangon’s Thaketa township, the site of one of a growing number of raids by Buddhist hardliners on Islamic events.

Two nearby Islamic schools were closed in late April after ultra-nationalists complained that local Muslims were illegally using them to conduct prayers.

Authorities have said the closure is temporary, but have given no timeline for when they may be reopened.

“We feel sorry. This month is important for us,” said the local Muslim leader Zaw Min Latt, referring to the holy month of Ramadan, which began last week.

“We used those schools for prayer for decades. These restrictions have been brought in after more than 60 years.”

Local authorities issued a statement saying the prayer session threatened “stability and the rule of law” in the mainly Muslim neighbourhood in the east of Myanmar’s commercial capital.

A police officer who asked not to be named confirmed the charges.

Two officers tried to stop AFP journalists from filming when they visited one of the madrasas on Friday.

“It’s our mosque as well as our school. We don’t know when it will be reopened,” Khin Soe, a local resident in his 50s, said as he set off to pray in another part of town.

The case comes as Myanmar’s government has been seeking to clamp down on hate speech after a spike in anti-Muslim actions by hardliners from the country’s Buddhist majority.

Religious tensions have soared since a group of Rohingya Muslims attacked police posts in Rakhine state in October, sparking a bloody military crackdown that has drawn widespread international condemnation.

Last week Myanmar’s top Buddhist authority officially banned the Ma Ba Tha, an ultra-nationalist movement affiliated with the firebrand cleric Wirathu, which responded by simply changing its name.

The move came after nationalists this month clashed with Muslims in another Muslim neighbourhood in Yangon, after pushing police to raid a house there in search of illegal Rohingya Muslim hideouts.

theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/02/myanmar-muslims-face-charges-for-holding-ramadan-prayers

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Hotel serves lavish Ramadan spread

3 June 2017

KUCHING: An array of gastronomic delights, ranging from local to western and Italian food, are available at Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites Ramadan buffet.

The annual buffet in conjunction with Ramadan month will be held from May 27 till June 24, 6pm till 9.30pm, at its Aurora Court and Ristorante Beccari restaurant.

The hotel’s culinary team would present more than 100 varieties from local favourites to international specialties aside from its signature spit-roasted whole lamb.

“Our Ramadan buffet spread starts with sweet Tunisian dates and appetiser counters filled with various types of fresh ulam-ulaman, jeruk (pickles), acar, umai and assortment of kerabu, and lots more.

“Among the must-try hot dishes are bubur pedas, nasi briyani gam with mutton, umbat kelapa masak lemak, honey chicken masak merah, kuzi kambing, deep fired Telapia with sweet chili sauce,” Merdeka Palace Integrated Marketing and Communications manager Mohd Arshad Hasseri said.

He added that there would also be live-cooking stations and live kitchen stalls, where food would be freshly prepared right in front of the guests. Among the dishes included Sarawak laksa, lok-lok, mini burger and Roti John.

Italian and western fares such as its well-known wood-oven pizzas and pastas with sauces such as carbonara, bolognese and napolitana are also available at the Ristorante Beccari, which will be open for the Ramadan buffet by June 5.

“Do indulge in our DIY (do-it-yourself) counters and make your very own ais kacang. Lastly, round up your meal with assorted French pastries, traditional deserts namely bubur kacang hijau, pengat pisang and bubur cha cha,” Arshad added.

The buffet is priced at RM90 per adult, while for children aged 4 to 12 years is RM40. Senior citizens aged 60 years and above enjoy a price of RM75.

For enquiries on the Ramadan buffet, contact the hotel at 082-258000 (ext 8061 for Aurora Court or ext 8004 for the F&B office between 8.30am and 5pm), or visit its website at merdekapalace.com or Facebook page.

thestar.com.my/metro/community/2017/06/03/hotel-serves-lavish-ramadan-spread-annual-buffet-to-present-over-100-dishes-of-local-and-internation/#Dqt6kH8gocK5bmAo.99

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India

In This UP Village, Hindus and Muslims Decide To Remove Loudspeakers from Temples, Mosques

04 JUNE 2017

In what could be seen as a step to restore communal harmony in restive Moradabad village of Uttar Pradesh, villagers have decided to remove loudspeakers from temple and mosques.

According to a report by The Times of India, both Hindus and Muslims agreed to remove loudspeakers after tension simmered in the village for 3 years.

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Speaking to the newspaper, Circle officer (rural) Chakramani Tripathi told, “Police and district administration of Moradabad are full of praise for the initiative taken by the elders of both the communities who amicably resolved the issue in the holy month of Ramzan.”

In Uttar Pradesh, there have been multiple incidents of violence reported  in the past over the use of loudspeakers on places of worship of both the communities.

Last year, at least 20 people were injured  after Hindus and Muslims clashed over the use of loudspeakers for ‘azaan’ or call for namaz in a mosque, reported Hindustan Times.

Following an argument, the groups indulged in stone-pelting and firing, the report said quoting sources.

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Earlier this year, Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam, had found himself amidst a controversy for criticising sermons from the loudspeakers.

The 43-year-old singer had described the loud sermons from the loudspeakers as hooliganism in a series of tweets following which a fatwa was issued against him by a Kolkata-based cleric.

outlookindia.com/website/story/in-this-up-village-hindus-muslims-decide-to-remove-loudspeakers-from-temples-mos/299195

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ISIS Failed In India despite Large Muslim Population: Home Minister

PTI | Jun 3, 2017

NEW DELHI: India has the largest Muslim population in the world but ISIS had been unable to establish itself in the country, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here on Saturday.

Singh was giving a report card of his ministry on the completion of three years of the Narendra Modi government.

"We have strived to provide security for the nation, with full responsibility," he said at a press conference.

He said 90 ISIS sympathisers had been arrested across the country, adding that ISIS and Ansar Ul Ammah have been included in the list of terrorist organisations.

According to the minister, there had been a 25 per cent reduction in Naxal attacks in 2014-17 as compared to 2011-14 (UPA tenure). He also said three years of NDA government had seen a 42 per cent reduction in deaths in Naxal attacks as compared to last three years of the UPA.

Singh said there was 45 per cent reduction in infiltration from Pakistan in the six months post-surgical strike at the Line of Control in September last year as compared to the corresponding period previous year.

The minister said the government would put an end to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/isis-failed-in-india-despite-large-muslim-population-rajnath-singh/articleshow/58973903.cms

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Terror funding case: NIA conducts fresh raids in J&K

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jun 4, 2017

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday carried out fresh raids across Jammu and Kashmir in a case involving terror funding meant to fuel unrest in the valley.

"NIA raids continue against Hurriyat leaders, at three locations of Srinagar and one in Jammu," news agency ANI said citing sources on Sunday.

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NIA raids continue against Hurriyat leaders, at three locations of Srinagar and one in Jammu: NIA Sources

11:20 AM - 4 Jun 2017

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According to ANI, Syed Ali Shah Geelani's close aide Azaz Akbar's house was raided early morning today.

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NIA raids continue against Hurriyat leaders, at three locations of Srinagar and one in Jammu: NIA Sources

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J&K: NIA raids Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar's residence in Srinagar. pic.twitter.com/i4SOQ3U5lT

12:09 PM - 4 Jun 2017

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Yesterday, NIA chief Sharad Kumar had told TOI+ that said 22 locations, including 14-15 in Kashmir and seven in Delhi, were raided since early morning.

The raids follow days after NIA converted a preliminary enquiry into the terror funding, allegedly involving Hurriyat leaders, into a regular case

"The searches have so far led to the recovery of cash amount of over Rs 1.15 crore, property-related documents, letterheads of banned terrorist organisations such as LeT and HM, pen-drives, laptops, and other incriminating documents," an NIA spokesperson had said.

Prominent among those who were raided by the NIA on Saturday were Hurriyat Conference (G) leader, Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Funtoosh at Qamarwari, Salvation Movement chairman Zaffar Akbar Bhat at Bagh-e-Mehtab, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) senior leader Noor Muhammad Kalwal at Nowgam, National Front (NF) chairman Nayeem Khan at Ibrahim Colony Natipora, JKLF (R) leader Farooq Dar alias Bitta Karatay at Guru Bazar Shaheed Gunj and Hurriyat (M) Media Advisor Shahid-ul-Islam at Sanat Nagar.

The businessmen whose houses were raided include Zahoor Ahmad Watali at Barzullah, Raja Zahoor Khan at Hyderpora, Muhammad Sultan Tangnuu at Azad Basti Natipora, Nazir Ahmad Mir alias Nazir Gas at Shamsabad Batamaloo, Farooq Ahmad Wani at Shamsabad Batamaloo, Muhammad Sultan Chandu at Natipora and Retired Dr Bashir Ahmad Bhat at Sheikhul Aalam Colony Nowgam.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/terror-funding-case-nia-conducts-fresh-raids-in-jk/articleshow/58984224.cms

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Security beefed up for India-Pakistan Champions Trophy tie: Reports

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jun 4, 2017

The UK intelligence have reportedly been informed of a possible terror attack at Edgbaston

This comes after a terrorist attack in Central London where a van rammed into a pedestrial killing six people

This is the second time in less than two weeks that London has come under a terrorist activity

Edgbaston, venue for the India-Pak tie is 208 kms away from the sight of attack in Central London (Getty Images)Edgbaston, venue for the India-Pak tie is 208 kms away from the sight of attack in Central London (Getty Images)

NEW DELHI: In the aftermath of a terrorist incident in Central London Saturday night, where six people were killed and three attackers shot dead by police, security has been beefed up for the Champions Trophy match featuring India and Pakistan on Sunday. Speculations are rife that the United Kingdon intelligence have been alerted about a possible attack during the match in Edgbaston, despite the venue being a good 208 km away from the sight of incident.

Cricket boards of both countries - BCCI and PCB have been duly informed and asked to remain panic free by the UK intelligence. This is the second time in less that two weeks that London has been a victim due to a terrorist act following the suicide bombing during a concert in Manchester on May 22 where 23 people lost their lives. A source close to the BCCI assured that there was nothing to worry as the secuity for the match has been covered from all bases.

"Several BCCI and PCB officials were told last night about a potential terrorist attack in Edgbaston," the source said. "There is nothing to worry about but since the intelligence units don't want to take any risk after the Manchester attack last month, they have told the officials from both teams to not talk to the media about it because it may create panic. They don't want to take any risk, however."

The ICC then sent out a statement that further assured that there was nothing to worry as all possible measures have been taken to ensure top-notch security. "We will continue to work with authorities over the coming hours and days and review our security in line with the threat levels," the ICC statement said. "The security situation has been very much front and centre of our preparations and we constantly review our procedures to guarantee they are as effective as possible to keep everyone safe."

A couple of members from the Pakistan team management condemned these terrorist activities. "It is very tragic what happened in Manchester. Our minds and hearts go out to the families of the victims," said Talat Ali, team manager of Pakistan.

"It's not just a game of cricket, it's a lot more than that," said Asif Iqbal, former skipper of Pakistan, before the high voltage match. Let's hope at the end of the day, it is the performances on the field that is being talked about after the match.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/champions-trophy-2017/top-stories/security-beefed-up-for-india-pakistan-champions-trophy-tie-reports/articleshow/58982750.cms

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India rejects Pakistan's claim of killing five Indian soldiers along LoC

TNN | Updated: Jun 4, 2017

Senior Army officers dubbed as "completely false" the Pakistan army's statement

There has been no casualty on our side, said an officer

File photo used for representational purposeFile photo used for representational purpose

NEW DELHI India on Saturday categorically rejected Pakistan's claims of having killed five Indian soldiers in Tatta Pani-Krishna Ghati sector, even as the two armies continued to exchange heavy cross-border firing along the volatile LoC.

Senior Army officers dubbed as "completely false" the Pakistan army's statement in the afternoon that it had "violently responded" to "unprovoked ceasefire violation at Tatta Pani along the LoC", which is faced by the Krishna Ghati sector on the Indian side, to kill five Indian soldiers and injure many others while "destroying Indian bunkers".

"There has been no casualty on our side. Two civilians, including a woman, however sustained injuries in the ceasefire violation by Pakistan, which began at 11 pm on Friday and continued till Saturday afternoon. We strongly reacted to it," said an officer.

Pakistan's latest claim on Saturday came in the backdrop of widespread reports, though unverified, that five of its soldiers were killed and six injured in "retaliatory fire assaults" by the Indian Army across the Poonch and Naushera sectors along the LoC last Thursday, as was then reported by TOI.

Meanwhile, Army chief General Bipin Rawat visited some battalions deployed along the LoC in North Kashmir on Saturday. "During his visit on Saturday, Gen Rawat was briefed on all aspects of operational and logistical preparedness. He was appreciative of the measures put in place to meet any challenge," said an officer.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-rejects-pakistans-claim-of-killing-five-indian-soldiers-along-loc/articleshow/58981567.cms

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PM Modi expresses anguish over London terror attacks

PTI | Jun 4, 2017

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday condemned the attacks in London, terming them as "shocking".

Two terror attacks at central London landmarks left at least six persons dead and 30 others injured. Three terror suspects were shot dead by the police.

"Attacks in London are shocking & anguishing. We condemn them. My thoughts are with families of the deceased & prayers with the injured," the Prime Minister said in a tweet.

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Attacks in London are shocking & anguishing. We condemn them. My thoughts are with families of the deceased & prayers with the injured.

9:23 AM - 4 Jun 2017

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The attack took place at London Bridge and Borough Market.

It was the third terror attack to strike the UK this year, after a man drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March and the bomb attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester two weeks ago.

On 22 May, 22 people were killed and 116 injured in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/pm-modi-expresses-anguish-over-london-terror-attacks/articleshow/58983344.cms

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Pakistan

Pakistan works to stay off list of terror-friendly nations

AP | Updated: Jun 3, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has frozen the accounts of 5,000 suspected terrorists, taking about $3 million out of their pockets+ , but Islamabad could still come under scrutiny at a crucial June meeting of an international watchdog that tracks terror financing.

Analysts and government officials say political foot-dragging and sympathetic supporters throughout Pakistan makes it difficult to cut off the money supply to banned terrorist groups.

Next month in Spain, the Financial Action Task Force will update its assessment of "high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions," Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel of the task force's communications department said in an email. She did not offer any specifics.

The 35-nation intergovernmental organization was formed in 1989 to combat money laundering. After 9/11, it also took on the role of fighting the financing of terrorism. Getting on the task force's "black list" could hurt a country's ability to borrow, if its banking system is considered a money laundering haven.

In 2015, Pakistan was exempted from its scrutiny after a similar session applauded the country's progress in tackling both money laundering and terrorist financing.

However, concerns have been raised by the resurrection of banned groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba under new names. Also worrying is the relative ease with which groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed appear to operate+ , openly running Islamic seminaries and fundraising.

"The government has to find a way to completely ban individuals and groups (suspected of terrorist activity) from operating. This is the only way," said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

Still, Pakistan's National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) has begun the painstaking work of devising anti-terror financing policies, freezing bank accounts of known terrorist groups and identifying those that have resurfaced with different names, according to its director, Ishan Ghani.

NACTA was established in 2013 through an act of Parliament; four years later, Ghani says it is "still in its formative stage."

When he took over NACTA 18 months ago, it had a staff of only 25, including drivers, despite a government promise to bring in about 800 people with the job of curbing money laundering and terrorism financing. Ghani blamed the slow start on a lack of government commitment and jurisdictional battles within the bureaucracy.

Since taking over, Ghani has increased his staff to 100, gotten a budget of 1.8 billion rupees ($15.7 million) and is updating a list of individuals suspected of terrorism. He also has devised a sweeping policy on which new, stricter laws can be enacted.

He said its current lists are outdated, with several suspected terrorists either dead or in jail, and the job of identifying individuals suspected of links to terrorism rests with Pakistan's four provinces.

The names have been slow in coming, Ghani added, blaming outdated systems, political foot-dragging and a lack of focus on counterterrorism+ despite military and police operations against suspected hideouts - particularly in Pakistan's tribal regions that border Afghanistan.

Politicians have been reluctant to shut down some of the reconstituted terrorist groups+ because of the local support they enjoy and the votes they bring in. Other groups, whose stated purpose is to wage war with neighbour India over the disputed Kashmir region, survive because of their suspected links to Pakistan's military and intelligence.

A Pak official shows a list of banned organizations, issued by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), in Islamabad.

Still, Ghani said he has had some success pressing provincial lawmakers into action.

Ghani recounted an incident last year during the holy month of Ramadan, when devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and fundraising often goes into high gear. He received reports that outlawed groups with terror links were openly raising cash. He put all four provinces on notice, warning them to stop the fundraising.

This year, NACTA is circulating a list of acceptable charities to which the faithful can donate those "not affiliated with terrorism," he said.

Hasan Akbar, executive director of the Islamabad-based Jinnah Institute, said Pakistan has made some progress tackling money laundering, "shutting down businesses that had a sweep not just in Pakistan but in Dubai and the United States."

There even has been progress against those groups that resurface under a new name.

"Organizations have been banned, but also in the last year funds have been seized of even those groups emerging as replacements for the banned groups," Akbar said.

Still, individual donations and support from small businesses provide a steady income to banned outfits that is difficult to track, he said.

"Challenges still remain in sectarian and jihadi groups where they get individual donations from traders and merchants in urban and rural areas," he said. "How do you stop that? That base of support is still there. This is hard to document."

Rana, of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, said banned organizations also collect money in mosques outside the country, then return home with the funds. Saudi Arabia is particularly lucrative, and the fundraising by outlawed sectarian, anti-Shiite groups is done openly, he said.

"Many banned organizations have very traditional methods of collecting money. They go to Saudi Arabia or the United Kingdom, for example, and go into mosques," he said, adding that the fundraiser usually is given a few minutes to speak to the congregation and asks for donations.

Ghani said that among the policies he is crafting is one to regulate cash transfers, a widely used practice in Pakistan. The policy will require anyone transferring 1 million rupees ($10,000) or more to identify the origins of the money.

"Today, you could carry 50 million rupees around in your car and no one would say anything, but we are coming up with a policy and laws that will require an explanation and the disclosure of the money trail," Ghani said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-works-to-stay-off-list-of-terror-friendly-nations/articleshow/58973455.cms

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Accounts of suspected militants frozen: Nacta Pakistan

June 4th, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has frozen the accounts of a large number of suspected militants, taking about $3 million out of their pockets, but Islamabad could still come under scrutiny at a crucial June meeting of an international watchdog that tracks terror financing.

Analysts say political foot-dragging and sympathetic supporters throughout the country makes it difficult to cut off the money supply to banned militant groups.

Next month in Spain, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will update its assessment of “high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions,” Alexandra Wijme­nga-Daniel of the task force’s communications dep­ar­t­ment said in an email. She did not offer any specifics.

International body to scrutinise Pakistan’s efforts for stopping terror financing next month

The 35-nation intergovernmental organisation was formed in 1989 to combat money laundering. After 9/11, it also took on the role of fighting the financing of terrorism. Getting on the task force’s “black list” could hurt a country’s ability to borrow, if its banking system is considered a money laundering haven.

In 2015, Pakistan was exempted from its scrutiny after a similar session applauded the country’s progress in tackling both money laundering and terror financing.

However, concerns have been raised by the resurrection of banned groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba under new names. Also worrying is the relative ease with which groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed appear to operate, openly running seminaries and fundraising.

“The government has to find a way to completely ban individuals and groups (suspected of militant activity) from operating. This is the only way,” said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

Still, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) has begun the painstaking work of devising anti-terror financing policies, freezing bank accounts of known terrorist groups and identifying those that have resurfaced with different names, according to Nacta director Ishan Ghani.

When he took over Nacta 18 months ago, it had a staff of only 25, including drivers, despite a government promise to bring in about 800 people with the job of curbing money laundering and terror financing.

Mr Ghani blamed the slow start on a lack of government commitment and jurisdictional battles within the bureaucracy.

New, stricter laws

Since taking over, Mr Ghani has increased his staff to 100, gotten a budget of Rs1.8 billion and is updating a list of individuals suspected of extremism. He also has devised a sweeping policy on which new, stricter laws can be enacted.

He said its current lists were outdated, with several suspected militants either dead or in jail, and the job of identifying individuals suspected of links to extremists rests with the four provinces.

The names have been slow in coming, Mr Ghani said, blaming outdated systems, political foot-dragging and a lack of focus on counterterrorism despite military and police operations against suspected hideouts, particularly in tribal regions that border Afghanistan.

Politicians have been reluctant to shut down some of the reconstituted militant groups because of the local support they enjoy and the votes they bring in. Other groups, whose stated purpose is to wage war with India over the disputed Kashmir region, survive because of their suspected links to agencies.

Still, Mr Ghani said he had had some success pressing provincial lawmakers into action.

He recounted an incident last year during the holy month of Ramazan when fundraising often goes into high gear. He received reports that banned groups with militant links were openly raising cash. He put all four provinces on notice, warning them to stop the fundraising.

This year, Nacta is circulating a list of acceptable charities to which the faithful can donate because they are “not affiliated with terrorism,” he said.

Hasan Akbar, executive director of the Islamabad-based Jinnah Institute, said Pakistan had made some progress tackling money laundering, “shutting down businesses that had a sweep not just in Pakistan but in Dubai and the United States”. There even has been progress against those groups that resurface under a new name.

dawn.com/news/1337343/accounts-of-suspected-militants-frozen-nacta

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'UNCLEAN!' PAKISTAN SEWER WORKER DIES OF RAMADAN NON-TREATMENT

Jun 04, 2017

A sewer worker who fell unconscious while cleaning a manhole in Umerkot, Pakistan, was rescued and brought to a government hospital, but the staff, observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan refused to treat him because he was “unclean,” according to relatives.

Irfan Masih, 30, died Thursday according to the Pakistani Express Tribune.

Masih was one of four sanitation workers who fainted while cleaning a manhole. The other three were brought to other hospitals.

He died in the government hospital in front of doctors who were allegedly reluctant to treat him because Irfan was drenched in sewage sludge.

“The doctors refused to treat him because they were fasting and said my son was ‘napaak [unclean],'” claimed Irshad Masih, the mother of the deceased.

Pervez Masih, Irfan’s brother, said that he personally cleaned his brother’s body, after which the doctors sent an oxygen cylinder.

“But the cylinder was empty,” he said. “And, before they could arrange another cylinder, he [Irfan] died.”

After Irfan breathed his last at the hospital, the family, community and locals staged a sit-in demonstration, along with the body, on the inter-district road connecting Umerkot to other parts of Sindh. The protest lasted for 10 hours before ending with assurances an inquiry would be conducted against the municipal authorities and doctors.

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The protesting sanitary workers said that 60 daily wage workers are employed by the municipal committee in Umerkot. They alleged that the committee’s non-cadre officers Khalid Punjabi and Behari Lal compelled Irfan and others to work in the manhole without safety gear.

“They always threaten us with consequences of losing our jobs if we don’t obey their directives,” alleged Ghafoor Masih, a sanitary worker.

wnd.com/2017/06/unclean-pakistan-sewer-worker-dies-of-ramadan-non-treatment/#a00uoFtIHFiOmKzP.99

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Arab World

IS killed 120 civilians in western Mosul: Military

03 Jun 2017

MOSUL, Iraq: Islamic State has killed 120 civilians over the past 48 hours in western Mosul, according to an Iraqi army officer on Friday.

Lt. Dargam al-Haydari with Iraq's Rapid Response Division told Anadolu Agency that some of the civilians were killed as they attempted to flee the clashes between Iraqi security forces and IS terrorists in the region.

"Some others were executed by the organization, while others were killed in bomb attacks carried out by the group," Al-Haydari said.

Over 150 civilians including 70 women and children were evacuated from IS-held Zanjili district by the Iraqi forces, he added.

Iraqi federal police said in a statement that the security forces had taken 40 percent of the district under control, and opened safe corridors for the evacuation of civilians.

Karim Ziyab, an officer with the federal police, said more than 400 civilians stuck in Zanjili district had been rescued by the security forces since Thursday evening.

Nearly 800,000 civilians have fled northern Iraq’s Mosul city since the start of the military operation in February while an estimated 180,000 others remain in IS-controlled areas, according to UN figures on Tuesday.

Iraq has been roiled by violence since IS seized vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014. Iraqi forces, backed by air cover from a U.S.-led coalition, are currently engaged in a widespread offensive to dislodge IS from Mosul, the terrorist group’s last stronghold in Iraq.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/03/06/2017/IS-killed-120-civilians-in-western-Mosul-Military

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27 dead as Yemen army closes in on presidential palace

June 4th, 2017

ADEN: Yemeni government forces fought on Saturday to capture a rebel-held presidential palace in the southwestern province of Taez after clashes that killed 27 people, medics and military sources said.

Most of Taez province is controlled by Houthi rebels, who are battling forces allied with UN-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi holed up in the provincial capital of the same name.

Medics at the rebel-controlled Thamar Government Hospital in Taez, Yemen’s third city, said 19 Houthis had been killed in clashes over the past 24 hours.

Military sources reported eight soldiers dead during the same period as the army closed in on the presidential palace.

The palace is under the control of the Iran-backed Houthis who are allied with former soldiers loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

A Saudi-led coalition has fought in Yemen for the past two years on the side of Hadi’s government.

A statement on Saudi Arabia’s official SPA news agency on Saturday said pro-government Yemeni forces had captured the palace in Taez.

But military sources on the ground denied this, telling this news service that while government forces were closing in on the palace, they had not yet seized it.

Yemen’s conflict has killed more than 8,000 people and wounded tens of thousands, according to the UN’s World Health Organisation.

More than 500 people have died of cholera and another 55,200 left ill in recent weeks in the second outbreak of the deadly infection in less than a year in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world.

The UN has warned that 17 million people, or two-thirds of the population, face a serious threat of famine this year.

dawn.com/news/1337251/27-dead-as-yemen-army-closes-in-on-presidential-palace

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Over 70 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army Missile Attack in Deir Ezzur

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army's artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at ISIL's positions and movements in nine different regions near the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur, killing at least 70 terrorists and wounding tens scores of others.

The artillery and missile units shelled ISIL's concentration centers and movements in Tal (hill) Aloush, al-Thardah crossroad, al-Makbat region, Panorama base and the nearby hills, the road to Palmyra city, the neighborhood of al-Roshdiyeh and the villages of al-Janineh and Ayyash, killing over 70 terrorists and destroying four military vehicles and equipment.

In relevant developments in the province on Friday the Syrian Air Force carried out several combat sorties over ISIL's strongholds and movements in the Southern outskirts of Deir Ezzur city, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

ISIL lost a number of forces and its military hardware sustained major damage in the army air raids on terrorists' positions and movements in al-Maqaber (cemetery) region, Tal (hill) Aloush, Tal 17 and Tamin Brigade base.

The army forces, meantime, repelled an attack of ISIL on the pro-government forces' positions in al-Huweiqa neighborhood, killing a number of terrorists.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units opened fire at ISIL's centers in al-Maqaber, Panorama base, Tal Borouk, Tal Alounsh and the city's old airport.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960313000958

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ISIL Recruiting Fresh Fighters in Turkey

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkish media outlets revealed in Saturday reports that the ISIL terrorist group is endeavoring to recruit fresh fighters in the Turkish society to send them to battlefields in Syria.

Zaman daily reported that ISIL has a secret mosque in Istanbul that is used by the terrorist group for recruiting fighters.

Zaman went on to say that a probe carried out by the general prosecutor of Sakarya city in Western Turkey disclosed that a man named Eywa Najouk nom de guerre Abu Hanzalah has embarked on setting up a secret mosque for ISIL in the town of Ada Bazari in Sakarya province East of Istanbul.

The Turkish paper also disclosed that after the arrest of Abu Hanzalah that was the leader of ISIL in Turkey, eight others were arrested while preparing to move to Syria via Abu Hanzala, adding that the detainees have already acknowledged that they have joined ISIL via Abu Hanzala.

Zaman also said that the secret mosque, established by Abu Hanzalah, was used for holding secret meetings and attracting fresh forces for ISIL.

Security sources also said that Abu Hanzalah had been arrested in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015 on charges of commanding al-Qaeda in Turkey, but was freed in 2016.

Social networks, meantime, embarked on releasing voice files of Abu Hanzalah, saying, "After the conquest of Syria, we will go to Turkey and conquest Istanbul."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said last month that the terrorist groups of ISIL and Al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) and the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were following the same path in Syria,

“In fact, we cannot separate all these groups. ISIL and Al-Nusra have the same Wahhabi ideology and the same terrorist doctrine. ISIL, Al-Nusra and Erdogan that is affiliated with the Muslims Brotherhood, al Saud, and al Thani in Qatar, uphold the same doctrine,” the Syrian President told ONT news agency.

“All these groups have something in common which is the extremist Wahhabi ideology. And all of them are instruments in the hands of the United States,” Assad added.

“I’m not saying that they are instruments in the hands of the West, because Western Europe doesn’t practically exist on the political map. Europe implements what America wants, without any objection. All of these groups operate under the American leadership. So, whether we say that they are foreign powers, ISIL and Al-Nusra, or others, the director and financier is the same. They are all one group but with different names and different tactics,” Assad concluded.

In the past, Assad had accused Erdogan of being a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer, adding that the Turkish President has facilitated the growth of ISIL and Al-Nusra in Syria.

Media outlets said in May that the Turkish army and militants supported by Ankara forced the young people who left al-Wa'er district in Homs for Northern Syria to fight for them.

Hawar news quoted a local source in al-Ra'i district of al-Shahba region that the Turkish army deprived the residents of food and forced them, specially the under-18-year-old children, to fight and work for them.

The source added that al-Wa'er residents immigrated to the region based on the Turkey-backed militants' fake promises and then were treated awfully in a way that if the conditions continue, they would die of hunger.

Noting that the militants were under the direct command of the Turkish spy agency, he said that the Turkish army promised to give them a monthly salary of $300 but did not pay anything to them after they came to Northern Syria.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960313001144

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Syrian Army Dispatches Advanced Military Hardware to Borders with Jordan

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army has forwarded a large volume of modern military equipment to its borders with Jordan to reinvigorate its forces' imminent operation in the Southern province of Dara'a, military sources disclosed on Saturday.

The sources said that a large number of the Scud-b (Golan) missile launchers and tanks have been sent to Dara'a to join the army's imminent operation to recapture the Southern parts of Dara'a city that are still under terrorists' control. 

The sources pointed out that Syria's Golan missiles will be used to destroy concrete bunkers, positions and tunnels of the terrorists in the city, adding that "these Golan missiles played a crucial role in the army's victories against terrorists in al-Qaboun district in Eastern Damascus".

Also, a convoy of the Syrian army forces arrived in Dara'a province along with a large cargo of weapons and military equipment on Wednesday.

The fresh forces joined their comrades on Wednesday as the Syrian army had earlier dispatched two other convoys of soldiers to Dara'a.

Hundreds of Syrian forces and a large batch of military supplies were sent to Dara'a province as it seems that pro-gov't forces are preparing to start a new anti-terrorism operation in the region.

According to military sources, the pro-government forces are now in the preparation stage for a special operation to completely liberate the Dara'a city and recapture Jumrak border crossing to Jordan.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960313000833

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People Drive Terrorists' Top Mufti out of Town in Northwestern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- News websites affiliated to the terrorist groups disclosed that civilians in a town in Southern Idlib forced Abdullah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, the commander and Mufti (religious leader) of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board), to leave their town.

The websites reported that people in the town of Jarjnaz did not allow al-Muhaysini to preach the Friday prayers' sermon and fired him from their town.

In early January, social media pages affiliated to the opposition groups started trending Hashtag (#) against Abdullah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, accusing him of promoting ISIL's ideology among other militants.

The social media activists accused him as a promoter of ISIL thoughts under #Al-Muhaysini Did Enough to Destroy Our Revolution.

The activists said al-Muhaysini financed Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front), but ignored the groups' continued aggressions against militant groups affiliated to the Free Syrian Army.

They also accused al-Muhaysini of keeping mum on Jund al-Aqsa's brutal crimes.

Media sources disclosed in mid-December that the ISIL terrorist group offered a half-a-million dollar reward for any one that could assassinate Abdullah Muhammad al-Muhaysini.

The Arabic language al-Nashra news agency quoted sources privy to ISIL as saying that the Takfiri terrorist group in a statement offered a sum of $ 500,000 reward for the killer of Muhaysini, the Saudi national Mufti of Jeish al-Fatah.

The ISIL released Muhaysini's photo and his full name, Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Suleiman al-Muhaysini, underling in the statement that Muhaysini was in Idlib.

In August, al Muhaysini once again acknowledged alarming widening rifts among the militants in Aleppo.

"The differences have gone to the extremes," Muhaysini was quoted as saying by Oqat al-Sham news agency at the time.

He called for banishing the terrorist groups which were sowing differences among militants in Aleppo, and said, "We are not under such conditions to be envied by others given the growing rifts."

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960313000761

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Syria: Jeish Al-Islam's Second Top Commander Defects Terrorist Group

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Jeish al-Islam's top commander and spokesman cut ties with the terrorist group to inflict a second loss on the terrorist group after its top commander was killed in 2105.

Islam Alloush, the official spokesman of the Jeish al-Islam, cut off ties and defected the terrorist group.

In the meantime, Islam Alloush said in a statement that he has resigned from all his posts and ranks in Jeish al-Islam.

Following the defection of Islam Alloush, Jeish al-Islam has now lost his second top commander after Zaharn Alloush, the group's top commander, was killed in 2015.

Alloush further said in his statement that he will not use his organizational name Islam Alloush, adding that he wants to be called Majdi Mustafa Ne'ama.

Late December 2015, Jeish al-Islam Commander Zahran Alloush was killed in Syrian airstrikes on the terrorist group's command center in Eastern Ghouta

The Syrian bombers targeted the command center of Jeish al-Islam (Army of Islam) terrorist group in Al-Marj region of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside, killing ten of militants, including the terrorist group's top commander who was also a senior member of a coalition of the main anti-Assad militant groups in Syria.

Hamza Bayrakdar, Spokesman of Jeish al-Islam, was also killed in the airstrike in Eastern Ghouta.

Jeish al-Islam is a Saudi-backed Takfiri terrorist group affiliated to the Islamic Front a conglomerate of tens of terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960313001247

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The regime forces keep trying to restore areas where the “Islamic State” organization advanced to in the vicinity of Deir Ezzor city

04/06/2017

Deir Ezzor Province – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:: clashes are still taking place between members of the “Islamic State” organization against the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them in the vicinity of Deir Ezzor city and its southern areas, in an attempt by the regime forces to restore control over the school and the points they lost within their lines of defense in the panorama area in the south of Deir Ezzor city, where the organization advanced in the area following a violent attack carried out dawn of yesterday, and the clashes were accompanied by an exchange of intense shelling between both parties, and tens of airstrikes carried out by the warplanes on the organization controlled areas and their positions.

syriahr.com/en/?p=67527

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Top IS leadership targeted in Mastung operation

June 4th, 2017

ISLAMABAD: A number of key commanders of the militant Islamic State (IS) group have reportedly been killed in a major intelligence-led counterterrorism operation near Mastung in Balochistan, security officials told Dawn.

The operation in the hills near Mastung started on Friday and was continuing when this report was filed late Saturday night.

The action was prompted by intelligence reports that two Chinese-language instructors kidnapped from Quetta on May 24 were being held in the area. The security forces are said to have recovered the vehicle allegedly used in the kidnapping of the Chinese duo from the area.

Action prompted by intelligence reports that kidnapped Chinese duo was being held in area

Earlier in the month, about 28 people were killed in a suicide attack on the convoy of Senate Deputy Chairman Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri in Mastung.

The Saturday night operation was kept highly classified, according to a military source, to prevent any leakage of information.

The Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the military, did not immediately comment on the reports about the operation.

According to reports, top 10 commanders of the IS from different parts of the country had assembled in the Mastung area for a meeting when the raid began. It is claimed that at least eight or nine of the commanders were killed and the remaining have been captured. The names of the slain commanders were not immediately available.

At least seven troops were injured in the operation, including three officers. Two of the injured soldiers are said to be in a critical condition.

The level of the IS leadership claimed to have been taken out, when confirmed, indicates that it could be the biggest operation against the militant outfit since Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Malik Ishaq was killed along with his associates in Punjab in 2015, who were then said to be close to joining the IS.

Security sources say elimination of top leadership would serve a major blow to the IS in Pakistan. Officially the government denies presence of the militant organisation in the country.

A security source said the terrain of the area was very difficult and the troops had to physically go there because there was no option.

“The battle is going on ... kidnapped Chinese persons are inside a deep cave being used as command base by the IS. Special Services Group commandos are going in,” a security source said in a late-night update.

dawn.com/news/1337339/top-is-leadership-targeted-in-mastung-operation

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Over 1,200 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army's Recent Advances in Eastern Aleppo

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syria's state media said on Saturday that over 1,200 ISIL terrorists have been killed and hundreds more have been wounded in the ongoing operation of the Syrian army in Eastern Aleppo that has resulted in the liberation of tens of towns and villages so far.

The Syrian state news agency said that the army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL and drove them out of the villages of al-Eisalan, al-Qar, Maskana wheat silos, al-Aajouziyeh, al-Mahmoudiyeh, al-Feisaliyeh and al-Tayebeh today.

It reported that the army men's fresh operation in Eastern Aleppo has resulted in the liberation of 22 villages and farms and the killing of over 1,200 ISIL terrorists, adding that hundreds more have also been wounded in the clashes.

The agency added that 10 senior commanders, including Abu Hazifi Libya'yee, the commander of ISIL in Eastern Aleppo are among the terrorists killed in the recent operation.

In the meantime, 12 command posts, 101 military vehicles, 4 tanks, 2 BMP vehicles and 7 cannons of ISIL have also been destroyed.

Military sources said earlier today that the army troops continued their anti-ISIL operation to recapture the strategic town of Maskana in Eastern Aleppo and managed to take back 10 villages and regions, adding that the pro-government forces have gained control over the Raqqa-Maskana highway.

The sources said that the army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL and drove them out of the villages of Doweirineh, al-Balisiyeh, Um Hajra, al-Morteza al-Qadimiyeh and al-Sharideh in Eastern Aleppo.

The sources went on to say that the army arrived at the Raqqa-Maskana highway and imposed control over the highway after liberating the said villages.

The army units also pushed ISIL back from the village of Rasm al-Qazal North of Maskana and the villages of al-Kalateh, Um Rojol, al-Mawaniyeh, al-Khefeh and Khirbet al-Fakhah South and South-West of the town of Jubb al-Homam in Eastern Aleppo.

In the meantime, the Russian fighter jets pounded ISIL's positions in the village of al-Joweim East of Aleppo and in the neighbohoods of al-Badou, al-Rehaniyeh and Kajali in Maskana city.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960313001340

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South Asia

Explosions rock funeral in Kabul; at least 6 killed

 

Explosions in Kabul on Saturday killed at least six people attending a funeral reportedly attended by government officials, including members of parliament, a day after hundreds of demonstrators turned out to demand more security in the capital.

The explosions came just three days after a powerful truck bomb attack in the city that killed 90 people and wounded more than 450. The attack raised fears about the government's ability to protect its citizens nearly 16 years into a war with insurgents.

Wahid Mujro, spokesman for the Public Health ministry, said three explosions rocked a cemetery where Afghan Senator Alam Ezadyar's son was about to be buried. Salim Ezadyar was one of several people killed during the protest on Friday, attended by more than a thousand people in downtown Kabul.

Alam Ezadyar is deputy speaker for the upper house of the Afghanistan Parliament.

A couple hundred protesters passed the night under two big tents on a road near the presidential palace and the blast site and about 200 more joined them during the day. All roads toward the palace and nearby diplomatic areas were blocked Saturday by police and there was limited movement of vehicles and people.

The nature of Friday's demonstration shifted when protesters, many calling for the country's leadership to resign, attempted to move closer to the palace and some rushed police, who fired warning shots and used water cannons and eventually tear gas in attempt to disperse the crowd. The city's police chief said some demonstrators fired weapons in the direction of his men.

A member of the Afghan Parliament said Friday that eight protesters had been shot dead, while a hospital official said four corpses were brought to his facility. Police said Friday two protesters were killed and 25 police injured but would not comment on the number of fatalities when asked to clarify the death toll on Saturday.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Gen Murad Ali Murad, deputy interior minister, urged demonstrators to disperse because of a high security threat level in the country. He also called on members of the public not to join the demonstration.

President Ashraf Ghani, meanwhile, met with senior security officials during an emergency security meeting. A statement from the president's office said the meeting determined that an investigation must find out what exactly happened that led to the violence and identify those who acted against the law.

Most of the casualties from the truck bombing were civilians, including women and children, officials have said. But the dead also included Afghan security guards at the facilities, including the US Embassy, and 11 American contractors were wounded, none with life-threatening injuries, a US State Department official said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which came in the first week of the month of Ramazan.

dawn.com/news/1337197/explosions-rock-funeral-in-kabul-at-least-6-killed

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Taliban’s shadow deputy governor and 10 militants killed in Kapisa

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jun 04 2017

The shadow deputy governor of the Taliban group for northeastern Kapisa province of Afghanistan has been killed during an operation of the Afghan Special Forces, the Afghan army said Sunday.

According to 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan National Army in the East, Mawlavi Dost Mohammad was killed during an operation conducted by the commando forces of the Afghan National Army.

At least ten insurgents belonging to the Taliban group were also killed during the operation, the 201st Silab Corps said, adding that the operation was conducted in Khamir Daran area located between Kohi Safi and Tagab districts.

Kapisa has been among the relatively calm provinces in northeastern parts of the country but the security situation in some remote parts of the province has started to deteriorate during the recent years.

This comes as the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) personnel have stepped up counter-terrorism operations to suppress the insurgency activities of the militants.

The insurgents activities mainly led by the Taliban group have been rampant since the group announced its offensive last month and vowed to carry out more attacks across the country.

khaama.com/talibans-shadow-deputy-governor-and-10-militants-killed-in-kapisa-02866

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Ghani admits reforms needed in security, other sectors as violence soars

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jun 04 2017

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has admitted that reforms are needed in security and other sectors of the government as the country, specifically capital Kabul has been witnessing unprecedented violence during the recent days.

In his speech after the coordinated suicide attack targeting a funeral ceremony in Kabul, Ghani vowed that reforms will be implemented soon.

Ghani further added that the government for a thorough investigation regarding the Friday incident in which several youths lost their lives or were wounded.

In the meantime, President Ghani warned that the enemies of the country are attempting to spark riots and chaos in the country, emphasizing that only unity among the people can thwart the relentless conspiracies of the enemy.

President Ghani made the remarks after three back to back explosions ripped through the funeral ceremony of Mohammad Salim Izadyar, the son of the first deputy house speaker of the Afghan senate.

According the Ministry of Interior, at least 6 people lost their lives in the attack and around 87 others were wounded in the attack.

No group or individual has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack as well as the deadly bombing that rocked the diplomat part of the city on Wednesday.

khaama.com/ghani-admits-reforms-needed-in-security-other-sectors-as-violence-soars-02864

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Noor strongly reacts to coordinated suicide attack targeting Kabul funeral

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jun 04 2017

The provincial governor of the northern Balkh province Ata Mohammad strongly reacted to coordinated suicide attack that targeted the funeral ceremony of Salim Izadyar in Kabul on Saturday afternoon, calling it a cowardly conspiracy.

Noor who is also the chief executive of Jamiat-e-Islami, issued a statement after the attack and said such attacks further increases the doubts regarding the hand of certain circles inside the system.

Calling the yesterday’s incident a direct attack on a specific political movement, Noor also harshly criticized the security establishments and questioned their capabilities to ensure security for a small gathering despite having credible intelligence information and reports regarding the possible attacks.

He said the time has come to take immediate and serious decisions for the safety of the people together with the Jamiat-e-Islami and its political allies.

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

Salim Izadyar, the son of Mohammad Alam Izadyar, the first deputy house speaker of the Afghan Senate, was killed during the violent protests in Kabul on Friday.

The Ministry of Interior confirmed 6 people were killed and 87 others were wounded in the coordinated explosions targeting the burial ceremony of Mohammad Salim Izadyar.

khaama.com/noor-strongly-reacts-to-coordinated-suicide-attack-targeting-kabul-funeral-02863

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Mideast

50 years on, Israel keeps tight grip on Palestinian economy

AP | Jun 4, 2017

SALFIT: Fuad Maraita wakes up at 3:30 a.m. His hometown of Salfit in the Israeli-occupied West Bank lies in darkness.

He drinks coffee, slings a bag with his lunch over his shoulder, gets on a minibus and starts the grueling journey to his job laying tiles at a construction site near Tel Aviv.

Maraita, 62, is among tens of thousands of Palestinians who make the trek to Israel every day. Fifty years after Israel captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, this army of laborers is one of the most visible signs of the occupation.

Israeli control has held back the Palestinian economy, making decent-paying jobs in the territories scarce. Stripped of choices, Palestinians work in Israel, where their average pay is the minimum wage_ still more than double what they would earn at home. They build homes, fix cars and serve food.

Laying tiles in Israel has become a Maraita family tradition, passed down from Maraita's late father to him, his four brothers, and one of his sons. Salfit is just 30 miles from Tel Aviv, but Israeli travel restrictions keep him on the road for almost as much time each day as he spends working.

Maraita believes the occupation won't end anytime soon.

"They (the Israelis) are not going anywhere," he said.

Some 125,000 Palestinians now work in Israel and in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. At peak times, a third of the West Bank's workforce was employed in Israel, whose high-tech-driven economy is about 15 times larger than the Palestinian one.

This lopsided relationship will loom large if President Donald Trump restarts Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The U.S. administration believes strengthening the Palestinian economy would support future talks, but Israelis and Palestinians have different views of what that means.

Palestinians say Israel must cut shackles now, rather than linking economic change to an elusive peace deal. They say it's the only way to grow a sluggish economy held back by Israeli restrictions, including on Palestinian development in large parts of the West Bank where Jewish settlements are allowed to flourish.

"Our economic problems can't wait," said senior Palestinian economist Mohammed Mustafa who discussed such demands with the Trump administration.

Israel has proposed improvements of the current system, such as trying to reduce bottlenecks at Israeli-run crossings that Palestinians say prevent them from trading competitively.

Michael Oren, the Israeli government official who raised such ideas in Washington, said fundamental change has to wait for peace talks.

In the meantime, Palestinians should keep working in Israel, he said. "If there is stability, there is less terror. If there is less terror, this gives us, the diplomats, more space to negotiate."

Shortly after 5 a.m., Maraita reaches a crossing through Israel's West Bank separation barrier. Hundreds of laborers make their way through a maze of rails, turnstiles and a metal detector. They place their bags on an airport-style X-ray conveyor belt and press ID cards on a scanner.

It's a Thursday, turnout is relatively light and Maraita gets through in 10 minutes. At the start of the work week, it can take much longer, he said.

At first, there were no barriers. With the outbreak of Palestinian unrest in the late 1980s, Israel began imposing security closures and a permit regime.

After a second Palestinian uprising in 2000, Israel built the barrier to channels Palestinian traffic into Israel through crossings to detect potential Palestinian attackers.

Palestinians say the barrier is also a land grab because for long stretches it runs in the West Bank, not on the pre-1967 frontier, slicing off about 10 percent of the land.

Palestinians from Gaza have been banned from work in Israel since the 2007 takeover of Gaza by the Islamic militant Hamas.

After emerging from the crossing, Maraita boards another bus, sitting behind his brother Ahed, 52.

Some Israelis are pleasant, others racist, said Ahed, a tiler. "You have to endure it," he said.

At 6 a.m., the bus arrives at a coffee shop in the Tel Aviv area. Maraita chats with other customers as he waits for his employer. One of the regulars, Israeli contractor Ariel Schneider, believes Palestinians don't need a state.

"We need to make sure they (Palestinians) have work and everything will be fine," he said.

At 6:15 am, Maraita's employer picks him up. By the time Maraita gets to his job site, he will have traveled three hours.

An interim economic agreement of the mid-1990s has turned bad, Palestinians say. Their economy contracted or stagnated as a result of conflict-related Israel closures.

In the West Bank, youth unemployment reached 40 percent, and the figure for all ages is 18 percent.

Palestinians say that if left to their own devices, they could create jobs and wean themselves off hundreds of millions of dollars a year in foreign aid. The Palestinian economy could grow by a third if they could access resources in so-called Area C, according to the World Bank.

Some in Israel's government seek to annex Area C, and the government has accelerated settlement construction there.

Oren said the fate of Area C has to be decided in negotiations. In the meantime, Palestinians need to make their economy more competitive through technological advances, he said.

Gaza, home to 2 million Palestinians, is even worse off. The border blockade has prevented most exports. Unemployment has reached 42 percent. Among the young it's 60 percent.

A Rand Corp. study said both sides would gain tens of billions of dollars from a peace deal. Even now, Israel's gains from the occupation, such as cheap labor, are outweighed by lost opportunities, such as exports to the Arab world, some economists said.

It is 3:30 pm Maraita's employer hands him his weekly pay through the window of a pickup truck. Israeli contractors pay on time, said Maraita, who earns four times the West Bank average.

He's back in Salfit more than two hours later.

The father of six hopes his 23 grandchildren will do better.

For now, he said, he feels compelled to keep working.

"We have to take care of our homes, our children," he said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/50-years-on-israel-keeps-tight-grip-on-palestinian-economy/articleshow/58984195.cms

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Iran Mourns Demise Anniversary of Imam Khomeini

June, 04, 2017

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranians on Sunday are mourning the 28th anniversary of the demise of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini (RA).

Starting at 6 p.m., there will be special events at the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini (RA) in southern Tehran to pay tribute to “the architect of the Islamic Revolution.”

Visitors from across the country, as well as high-ranking Iranian officials along with groups of foreign guests and ambassadors will take part in the commemoration ceremony.

Every year, large crowds of Iranians travel to Tehran from different parts of the country on this day to pay tribute to Imam Khomeini at his shrine.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Moussavi Khomeini, better known as Imam Khomeini, engineered Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which led to the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran.

Born in 1902, he grew to become the iconic leader of the Iranian nation’s struggle in the 1970s against the centuries-old monarchical tyranny.

Imam Khomeini passed away on June 3, 1989, at the age of 87.

tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/06/04/1427398/iran-mourns-demise-anniversary-of-imam-khomeini

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Gold coin winners of the Ramadan Quiz Contest

04 Jun 2017

First week winners of the Ramadan Quiz Contest organised by The Peninsula and Malabar Gold & Diamonds, with Acting Managing Editor of The Peninsula, Mohammed Salim Mohamed (second left); Deputy Head, Malabar Gold & Diamonds branch, Yahiya (third left); and other officials at the awards ceremony held at the newspaper's office, yesterday. Pic: Kammutty VP/ The Peninsula

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/04/06/2017/Gold-coin-winners-of-the-Ramadan-Quiz-Contest

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President underlines following Imam Khomeini’s aspirations

04 Jun 2017

Tehran, June 4, IRNA - President Hassan Rouhani urged all to learn aspirations of the late Father of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini and follow his path.

President underlines following Imam Khomeini’s aspirations

He made the remarks in a fast breaking (Iftar) ceremony held Saturday evening in Tehran.

The President who was re-elected for the second term in a landslide victory in May 19 elections, urged his cabinet members and officials to spare no effort to improve people life conditions and resolve countries problems.

He called people votes a ‘Yes’ to his policy of engagement with the world and vowed to continue this way in the second term of his presidency.

President Rouhani also hailed the economic achievements including 8.3 percent economic growth during the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 21, 2017), noting that people know the key role of voting for resolution of country problems.

He stressed that he is not only the president of those who voted for him, but also the president of those who voted for other candidates or even did not vote at all as well as all Iranians who are living in other countries.

Rouhani garnered over 23.4 million votes (57 percent of more than 41 million cast ballots) on May 19 and became president for another four-year term.

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Ramadan offers from NBK Automobiles on Mercedes

04 Jun 2017

To celebrate the holy month of Ramadan and showcase its commitment to the Qatar community, Nasser Bin Khaled Automobiles (NBK Automobiles), the authorised general distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Qatar, has launched special offers on many models.

The great value deals are valid on the CLA, GLA, GLE, E 400 and V-Class Mercedes-Benz cars, providing customers with attractive savings to allow them drive their dream car home with the best specifications and highest standards of safety.

Khalid Shaaban, General Manager of NBK Automobiles, said: “In this holy month, Nasser Bin Khaled Automobiles extends its greetings and wishes health and prosperity to all members of the community. We are proudly providing customers with special offers and benefits on Mercedes-Benz models to drive away one of our cars at more affordable prices. These offers reflect NBK Automobiles’ full commitment to the Qatar society and to offer valued support during the holy month.”

Available during Ramadan and June 2017, the unbeatable prices are an excellent opportunity for Mercedes-Benz fans to drive the CLA from QR159,000, GLA from QR139,000, GLE from QR269,000, E 400 from QR269,000 and V-Class from QR249,000. In addition, customers can benefit from free registration, 3 years warranty with unlimited mileage and flexible internal and bank financing options.

As part of this special finance offer customers have to pay only 20% down payment at the time of delivery of the vehicle and they can drive the highly desirable Mercedes-Benz with no further payments due until January 2018.

Additionally, customers can also benefit from Mercedes-Benz Service Solutions offered by Nasser Bin Khaled Automobiles. Customers can choose from two customised packages. The first package is Mercedes-Benz Service SELECT that covers all scheduled maintenance costs specified by the manufacturer, including filters, operational liquids, and labour. The second package is Mercedes-Benz Service SELECT PLUS, which in addition to the items included in the Mercedes-Benz Service Select, covers a range of wear-and-tear parts.

Mercedes-Benz Service Solutions cover all scheduled maintenance procedures at a fixed cost. Customers can purchase the package that suit their needs and for varying time-periods, giving them completely transparent maintenance costs which saves them from any unpleasant surprises. The different packages, provide complete convenience and peace of mind, offering customers service levels that meet their expectations.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA is distinguished with its sporty proportions and powerful, dynamic design idiom characterised by sensuously rounded contours that make it unmistakable. Its profile is sleek like a coupé, yet it offers room for five. In undertaking the facelift modifications, the Mercedes-Benz designers have subtly honed the distinctive look and upgraded the interior.

The GLA is characterised by its sportily dynamic design idiom, light-footed handling and extensive individualisation range. As the first compact SUV from Mercedes-Benz it brought a breath of fresh air to its market segment and established itself there as a major player. The GLA has an engine of power that ranges from115 kW (156 hp) to 155 kW (211 hp). The GLE blends tradition and modernity with a luxurious interior ambience and a sportier.

The new GLE is equipped with best on-road and off-road handling, outstanding spaciousness and high levels of active and passive safety with driver assistance systems.

The E 400 is the core of Mercedes-Benz brand, and in the past has repeatedly redefined the standards in the executive-class segment. Now it carries this tradition into the future with a wealth of top-class innovations that take safety, stress relief and comfort to a new level. It is without doubt the most intelligent sedan in the executive class.

The V-Class Mercedes-Benz is redefining the MPV. As the youngest and largest member of the passenger car family, it sets new benchmarks in its segment with its design and a host of innovations. The V-Class combines room for up to eight people and exemplary functionality with the high-class appeal, comfort, efficient driving pleasure and safety that distinguish automobiles bearing the three-pointed star.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/04/06/2017/Ramadan-offers-from-NBK-Automobiles-on-Mercedes

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North America

'Saddam befriended US guards, spent final days telling them anecdotes'

PTI | Updated: Jun 4, 2017

NEW YORK: Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein spent his final days listening to American singer Mary J Blige, eating muffins and telling anecdotes to US prison guards whom he befriended, according to a new book.

The dictator's humble last days, and the experiences of his American guards, are recounted in Will Bardenwerper's new book, 'The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid', the New York Post reported.

Saddam, who ruled Iraq for three decades, was hanged in 2006 at the age of 69. As he awaited trial in Baghdad, Saddam was watched over by a group of US soldiers from the 551st Military Police Company, who came to call themselves 'The Super Twelve'.

The 12 American soldiers guarding Saddam initially forged a bond among themselves during their six months as the Iraqi dictator's private guards. However, the crew apparently bonded with Saddam too - right to his bitter end, the report said.

Among the guards was the author of the book.

Saddam enjoyed tending to a scrubby patch of dirt at one corner of his outdoor area, watering the weeds and "treating them more like beautiful flowers than the ugly growths they were," Bardenwerper writes.

He was meticulous about his food, too, he ate his breakfast in sections, first an omelet, then a muffin, followed by fresh fruit. If the omelet was "torn," he would reject it, according to the book.

One of the Super Twelve specialists noted that Saddam was especially given to sweets.

"He supposed it made Saddam less intimidating, that he could yield to the siren call of a sugary muffin the way anyone else might," Bardenwerper writes.

Saddam seemed genuinely interested in his guards' lives.

Several of the guards had children, and Saddam would share anecdotes from his own fatherhood experience. One story about disciplining children was memorable. Saddam recounted to his guards that his son Uday once made a "terrible mistake" that made Saddam "very angry".

Uday had, in fact, shot up a party, killing several people and wounding several more.

"I was very angry with him so I burned all his cars," Saddam told the guards, referring to Uday's large collection of luxury automobiles, including hundreds of Rolls-Royces, Ferraris and Porsches, according to the book.

"Laughing wildly, the former dictator recalled how he gleefully watched the inferno," writes Bardenwerper.

Saddam also listened to the radio and "he'd always stop tuning if he stumbled across a Mary J Blige song" and liked to ride a rickety exercise bike that he called his "pony", according to the book.

His guards were struck by Saddam's appreciation of simple pleasures. Though he once owned dozens of marble palaces, he seemed reasonably content in his small prison cell, the report said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/saddam-befriended-us-guards-spent-final-days-telling-them-anecdotes/articleshow/58984033.cms

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US's Trump Renews Call For Muslim Travel Ban After London Attack

Sun, 4th Jun 2017

LONDON (Alliance News) - US President Donald Trump late Saturday called for his suspended ban on travellers from six Muslim-majority countries to be implemented just an hour after reports of the terrorist attack in London began to emerge.

"We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!" Trump tweeted.

An hour earlier he had retweeted a comment from the conservative Drudge Report website on the attack in London.

He then sent a message of support to Britain, writing, "Whatever the US can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there - WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!"

Earlier this week the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to review the legality of the president's executive order on a travel ban, which a series of lower court rulings have kept from going into effect.

The courts have ruled that plaintiffs are likely to succeed at trial in showing that the policy violates US constitutional prohibitions on religious discrimination.

Trump issued an initial travel ban for seven countries in January. After the initial ban became tied up in the courts, his administration issued a revised executive order which limited the ban to six countries.

Copyright dpa

lse.co.uk/AllNews.asp?code=mia30v0p&headline=USs_Trump_Renews_Call_For_Muslim_Travel_Ban_After_London_Attack

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Africa

Islamic Cleric Faults FG, Nigerian Army over Recruitment Procedure

June 4, 2017

A renowned Islamic Scholar, Dr. Muhammad Sani Umar Rijiyan Lemo has faulted Federal Government and the Nigerian Army for scheduling the screening exercise for recruitment into the Nigerian Army during Ramadan period.

Umar made the observation yesterday during his Ramadan Tafsir session at Gwallaja Juma’at Mosque Bauchi, describing the exercise as a “deliberate attempt to deny Muslim youths who are observing fasting, the opportunity of joining the Army because of the physical activities involved in the screening process.”

The cleric wondered why the Nigerian Army choose the month of the Ramadan fast to carry out the exercise.

“In the twelve months we have, the Muslims only use one month for the Ramadan fast and it is that particular month that the army decides to conduct physical activities for recruitment purposes, there is more to it than meets the eye,” he said.

The Muslim cleric then called on elected functionaries of government who are of the Islamic faith at the state and national levels to make known the concern of the Muslim communities with regards to the ongoing screening exercise into the Nigerian Army.

He said, “our governors, national and state assembly members should rise to the occasion by challenging the authorities on the rationale behind the scheduling of the screening exercise during Ramadan fast.”

Umar further maintained that religion is a fundamental human right and fasting is one of the pillars of Islam that cannot be compromised saying.

thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/06/04/islamic-cleric-faults-fg-nigerian-army-over-recruitment-procedure/

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/london-bridge-terror-attackers-shouted--this-is-for-allah--as-they-stabbed-strangers-in-street/d/111403

 

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