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Islamic World News ( 25 March 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan University's Students Told To Apologise For Playing Holi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Students asked to apologise for playing Holi in Pakistan's Sindh University

 

Pakistan

Pakistan University's Students Told To Apologise For Playing Holi

Pakistan Agrees To Allow Raheel Sharif to Command Saudi-Led Alliance

Pakistan mulling options for Abdul Basit's replacement: Sources

WPB, VAWC introduced in line with teachings of Islam: Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif

Pakistan starts building fence along Afghan border

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Arab World

Nearly 470 Terrorists Killed in Clashes in Eastern Damascus

Syrian Army Scores more Victories against ISIL in Eastern Aleppo

Al-Nusra Suffers Heavy Casualties in Syrian Army Attacks in Dara'a

Mosul exodus as air strikes kills 'dozens'

Syrian Gov't Forces Establish Full Security at Kuweires Airbase

Army Captures Terrorist-Held Regions in Northern Hama

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Europe

Only Targeting Muslims in Anti-Terror Schemes Is Wrong, Says Jeremy Corbyn

Muslim-Born Restaurant Owner Feeds Cops and Medics For Free During UK Attack

Muslims Come Together To Condemn 'Barbaric' Terror Attack as A 'Violation of Islam'

Showing common touch, Pope visits Muslim, elderly families in Milan

Westminster killer Khalid Masood had no links to Islamic State, says security source

Moderate Muslims have a role to play in combatting the West's anti-Islam stance

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South Asia

Blasts Kill Six, Wound Dozens as Bangladesh Commandos Storm Islamist Hideout

ISIS Execute 3 Civilians on Charges of Supporting Police in North of Afghanistan

An al-Qaida leader killed in Afghanistan airstrike: Pentagon

Afghan forces and civilians suffer casualties in Nangarhar attack

High-Profile Al-Qaeda leader Qari Yasin killed in Paktika

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Mideast

Erdoğan Slams Germany on Arms Sales Ban, Says Swastika Signs On Mosques 'Sign Of Fascism'

Turkey Sends New Military Equipment to Euphrates Shield Operation Forces in Syria

14 PKK Militants Killed In Turkey’s Tunceli

Israeli Settlers Break into Al-Aqsa Mosque

Iran says to sanction 15 US companies for Israel ties

Erdogan says Turkey may hold referendum on EU accession bid

Three million new migrants may come to Turkey from Iran: Deputy PM

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India

Botched ISI Operation Led to Nizamuddin Dargah’s Clerics’ Detention In Pakistan

Jammu Alert: Terrorists Snatch AK-47 from Muslim Clerics' PSO

2 terrorists killed in encounter in J&K's Pulwama

Pakistan apprehends over 100 Indian fishermen off Gujarat coast

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North America

Mosques across America Continue to Receive Threatening Letters

Two Attackers Open Fire Inside Crowded US Nightclub; 1 Dead, 15 Injured

17 Year-Boy In Custody After Injuring 31 Year-Old Man During Attack At A Bradford City Centre Mosque

U.S.-backed Syrian militia makes gains against Islamic State

US military investigating alleged civilian casualties in Mosul strike

US Airstrikes in Syria Take Civilian Tolls Again

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia ranks 7th in travel freedom among Southeast Asian countries

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Africa

Ali al-Haj formally elected leader of Sudan’s Islamist opposition party

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pakistan-university-s-students-told-to-apologise-for-playing-holi/d/110536

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Pakistan university's students told to apologise for playing Holi

Mar 26, 2017

The chair of the university's mass communication department, Badar Soomro, was the one who asked for the apology. And perturbed university administration officials are now inquiring into whether what happened was a disciplinary issue or a discriminatory one.

If religious discrimination is established, action will be taken against the concerned official, the university's vice chancellor (VC) Fateh Muhammad Burfat said. He added that of 10 students who had to apologize, four are Hindu and six are Muslim.

"Sindh University has the highest number of Hindu community staff and students compared to any other university. They all work and study together with Muslims with utmost harmony," he said.

The incident came to light when one of the students' affidavits became public. Student Raja Deepak's affidavit "spread like wildfire on social media", wrote the Tribune.

"...Those were the days of Holi and friends threw colours of Holi at each other as is the tradition. But this was wrong according to the university's law and because of which our department's ID cards were taken away," reads the affidavit, according to the newspaper.

Soomro, who has been member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan for decades, was taken aback by the insinuation of religious bias.

He told the VC that he took action to maintain administrative discipline and not to deny religious freedom. He added the students had not taken permission for the campus celebration. For any religious or cultural activity the students are supposed to write to the VC or the registrar for permission.

Some students told the Tribune that such rules are only now being followed to the letter. They implied it was religious discrimination.

"When we were new in the university, we saw our seniors celebrating Holi and other religious or cultural activities with complete freedom," a student claimed.

"The inquiry committee headed by Dean of the Faculty of Law, advocate Jhamat Mal Jethanand, has been given a one-point agenda - to ascertain whether any discrimination took place," said vice chancellor Fateh Muhammad Burfat at a press conference yesterday.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-universitys-students-told-to-apologise-for-playing-holi/articleshow/57838801.cms

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Nearly 470 Terrorists Killed in Clashes in Eastern Damascus

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and its allies inflicted nearly 470 casualties on the terrorists in Jobar district of Damascus during clashes in the past few days.

The fierce clashes between the army troops and the terrorists in Jobar district of Eastern Damascus led to the death of hundreds of terrorists and the government forces' control over all occupied regions.

The General Staff of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces also announced that the country's soldiers have regained control of all lost lands in Jobar.

Relevant reports said on Friday that the Syrian army troops captured terrorist-occupied regions in Jobar and damaged an operation room of the militants.

The army troops won back control of a textile plant in the Northern parts of Jobar district after heavy clashes with al-Nusra (Fatah al-Sham) Front terrorists.

Concurrently, the Syrian air force and artillery units targeted the terrorists' positions with heavy strikes.

A field source also reported that the Syrian fighter jets pounded the operations room of Faylaq al-Rahman terrorist group in Jobar, killing all the militants inside.

Meantime, the Syrian soldiers targeted a terrorist base in Sadkoub region, inflicting at least 10 casualties on the militants.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960105000373

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Only Targeting Muslims in Anti-Terror Schemes Is Wrong, Says Jeremy Corbyn

Mar 26, 2017

The Government's Prevent strategy should be broadened and focus on all communities to stop Muslims feeling singled out, Jeremy Corbyn has suggested.

The Labour leader said the counter-terrorism strategy is "often counter-productive" and casts "suspicion" over the whole Muslim community in the UK.

Speaking to ITV's Peston On Sunday programme in the wake of Wednesday's London terror attack, Mr Corbyn suggested the Government's deradicalisation programme needed to be reformed.

He said: "I talk to people in the Muslim community, I talk to people in mosques, I talk to people in churches, I talk to people that go to synagogues, all kinds of different faiths and different groups.

"I think what Prevent has often done is seen to target the Muslim community, not anybody else, looks to say there is a kind of suspicion over the whole community and it's actually often counter-productive."

He continued: "Deal with the issue of far right extremism within our society, deal with the issue of racism in our society, deal with the issues of discrimination within our society, deal with the issues of the perceptions of stop and search within our society, above all be inclusive of people and what Prevent does, it says 'hang on, let's look at only the Muslim community'."

When pushed on exactly what he believed needed to change, he said: "I'm saying broaden it into an agenda of inclusion."

"Focus it on all communities," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn insisted that Labour is ready for an early general election should Prime Minister Theresa May decide to pursue one.

On the possibility of an early general election being called, Mr Corbyn said Labour is ready and would not block a Government bid to repeal the Fixed-term Parliament Act which would allow a poll to take place before 2020.

He said: "We are developing our policies but clearly if an election is called we can bring all that forward and we are ready, yes."

He added: "It wouldn't be just us actually because it (repealing the Fixed-term Parliament Act) requires two thirds of all MPs to vote for it.

"We would not block it, of course not, because if that's what is on offer, I don't know if that's in her mind or not.

"She certainly hasn't discussed it with me."

Mr Corbyn was also grilled on whether he would back a second referendum on Scottish independence.

He said he does not believe a second referendum is a good idea but that if the Scottish Parliament calls for one Westminster should not block it.

He said: "If that is what the Scottish Parliament wants then I think that it would be wrong for Westminster to say to Scotland 'well we gave you this devolution but sorry, this is where it stops'."

When asked if that meant he would back another referendum on independence, he said: "The principle of having it, yes, of course. One has to discuss the questions of timing and the date of it."

standard.co.uk/news/politics/only-targeting-muslims-in-antiterror-schemes-is-wrong-says-jeremy-corbyn-a3499421.html

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Blasts kill six, wound dozens as Bangladesh commandos storm Islamist hideout

Sunday, 26 March, 2017

Two explosions ripped through a crowd, killing six people and injuring some 50 in Bangladesh’s northeastern city of Sylhet as army commandos stormed an Islamist extremist hideout.

The “powerful” blasts went off Saturday some 400 metres from the hideout, targeting police and hundreds of onlookers who were watching the commandos conduct an anti-militant operation at a five-storey apartment building, police said.

Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet police Basudeb Banik said “six people including two police officers were killed” in the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group via its propaganda agency Amaq.

He said around 50 people were injured including about a dozen police and security officers.

Several people were reported to be in critical condition, including the head of intelligence of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which is tasked with combating Islamist extremism in the country, he said.

Bangladeshi army commandos stand next to an armoured vehicle during an operation to storm an Islamist extremist hideout in the city of Sylhet. Photo: AFP

Police primarily suspect the blasts were the work of a new faction of the homegrown extremist group, Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which has been blamed for a wave of attacks in recent years.

Police could not confirm if it was a suicide attack but believe one of the attackers could be among the dead.

IS claimed via Amaq that there were “dozens killed and wounded among Bangladeshi forces as a result of the detonation of an explosive device”, according to US-based monitoring agency SITE Intelligence Group.

Banik rejected the claim, saying IS does not have any presence in the country.

The blasts occurred after an hours-long exchange of gunfire and commandos rescued “78 civilian hostages” from the hideout where several Islamist militants were holed up in a ground-floor apartment.

“Our main task was to rescue the hostages, which we have done successfully. We were able to rescue all 78 people safely,” army spokesman Brigadier General Fakhrul Ahsan said.

He said the extremists were still inside the apartment building where they had barricaded themselves and laid explosive devices.

“As a result the whole operation is being conducted carefully,” he said.

Bangladesh Army commandos take part in an operation at an Islamist extremist hideout in Sylhet. Photo: AFP

The commandos backed by armoured personnel carriers launched the operation after a more than 30-hour standoff that began early Friday morning when police sealed off the building as militants detonated small bombs.

The spokesman could not say how many extremists were in the building, but police said there were at least two including a woman.

“They are Islamist extremists,” police spokesman Musa said, adding they shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest).

Bangladesh police establish a crime scene after an attacker was killed in front of a police box at the entrance to Dhaka’s international airport. Photo: AFP

Police used loudspeakers to ask the extremists to surrender, but they refused to give up, Musa said.

The raid came after a series of suicide attacks on security camps by Islamist extremists this month including one at a police checkpoint near the country’s main international airport on Friday night.

Two of the three attacks, including Friday’s blast in which the suicide attacker was killed, were claimed by the Islamic State group.

This month a police elite unit also stormed a building outside the port city of Chittagong, killing four members of JMB, including a woman.

IS has claimed responsibility for a wave of killings since 2015 including a major attack on a Dhaka cafe last year in which 22 people, including 18 foreign hostages, were killed.

The Bangladeshi government denies IS has any presence in the country, arguing instead that a new faction of JMB was behind the attacks.

scmp.com/news/asia/south-asia/article/2082204/blasts-kill-six-wound-dozens-bangladesh-commandos-storm

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Pakistan

Pakistan university's students told to apologise for playing Holi

Mar 26, 2017

The chair of the university's mass communication department, Badar Soomro, was the one who asked for the apology. And perturbed university administration officials are now inquiring into whether what happened was a disciplinary issue or a discriminatory one.

If religious discrimination is established, action will be taken against the concerned official, the university's vice chancellor (VC) Fateh Muhammad Burfat said. He added that of 10 students who had to apologize, four are Hindu and six are Muslim.

"Sindh University has the highest number of Hindu community staff and students compared to any other university. They all work and study together with Muslims with utmost harmony," he said.

The incident came to light when one of the students' affidavits became public. Student Raja Deepak's affidavit "spread like wildfire on social media", wrote the Tribune.

"...Those were the days of Holi and friends threw colours of Holi at each other as is the tradition. But this was wrong according to the university's law and because of which our department's ID cards were taken away," reads the affidavit, according to the newspaper.

Soomro, who has been member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan for decades, was taken aback by the insinuation of religious bias.

He told the VC that he took action to maintain administrative discipline and not to deny religious freedom. He added the students had not taken permission for the campus celebration. For any religious or cultural activity the students are supposed to write to the VC or the registrar for permission.

Some students told the Tribune that such rules are only now being followed to the letter. They implied it was religious discrimination.

"When we were new in the university, we saw our seniors celebrating Holi and other religious or cultural activities with complete freedom," a student claimed.

"The inquiry committee headed by Dean of the Faculty of Law, advocate Jhamat Mal Jethanand, has been given a one-point agenda - to ascertain whether any discrimination took place," said vice chancellor Fateh Muhammad Burfat at a press conference yesterday.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-universitys-students-told-to-apologise-for-playing-holi/articleshow/57838801.cms

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Pakistan agrees to allow Raheel Sharif to command Saudi-led alliance

PTI | Updated: Mar 25, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has agreed to allow former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif to head a Saudi Arabia-led 39-nation Islamic military coalition formed to combat terrorism, according to a media report.

This was disclosed by defence minister Khawaja Asif in a programme of private Geo TV.

Citing Asif, the channel said official documentation to issue the no-objection certificate (NOC) had not been done but the government has agreed in principle to issue the permission because the Saudi leadership had formally requested through a letter to let Raheel take up the command of the coalition.

Asif said he had visited Saudi Arabia for Umrah earlier this year, and had also met officials of the Saudi government.

In May, the advisory board of defense ministers of member countries will attend a meeting on the issue, he said, adding the structure of the alliance had not been decided so far.

"When General (Retd) Raheel Sharif joins he will define a structure," he said.

In January this year, the defence minister had informed the Senate that the former army chief had not sought an NOC to lead a Saudi-led military alliance.

Asif had said Raheel had returned to Pakistan after performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia and if he applies for the NOC, then it will be decided according to law.

From a few politicians to retired army officers, journalists, intellectuals -- all had questioned the decision of a former Pakistani army chief to join a foreign military alliance after his retirement.

Pakistani leaders were initially taken aback when Saudi Arabia, without proper consultation with them, had announced in 2015 that Islamabad was also part of the new alliance.

Iran was not included in the grouping which appeared as a vague attempt to forge a Sunni Muslim alliance against Shiite Iran to curtail its influence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and rest of the Middle East.

Pakistan was in an unenviable position as it has good ties with both Iran and Saudi Arabia. It was also not ready to be dragged into the politics of Middle East.

Later, Pakistan confirmed its participation in the alliance, but had said that the scope of its participation would be defined after Riyadh shared the details of the coalition it was assembling.

According to Saudi Arabia, the alliance is formed to fight ISIS and other militant outfits.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-agrees-to-allow-raheel-sharif-to-command-saudi-led-alliance/articleshow/57829465.cms

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Pakistan mulling options for Abdul Basit's replacement: Sources

PTI | Updated: Mar 25, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is mulling options to replace its hawkish envoy to India, Abdul Basit, after his tussle with the decisions-makers in Islamabad following the elevation of his junior Tehmina Janjua as Foreign Secretary.

Basit, the Pakistan High Commissioner to India, was appointed in March 2014 after he suffered a major disappointment when he was sure of being appointed Pakistan's Foreign Secretary but last-minute wheeling and dealing resulted in the appointment of Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

Basit, who has completed his a turbulent three-year tenure in New Delhi, again failed to get favours from the decisions-makers in Islamabad last month when Janjua was appointed his boss to become Pakistan's first woman Foreign Secretary.

Reliable sources said Basit in the heat of passions had thought of resigning. But later decided to stay put, making it clear to his bosses he would not work in any 'subordinate' position to Janjua.

As he completes his tenure, Foreign Office bosses are unsure how to deal with Basit. Sources said an option could be to let Basit carry on but the problem is he is considered hawkish by the incumbent government who hardly fits into the Prime Minister's policy of "good ties with all neighbours".

Another possibility could be to send him as ambassador or high commissioner to a European capital. The last option could be to send his replacement to New Delhi and let him come back and then proceed on a long leave.

Already, name of senior diplomat Sohail Mahmood is being discussed as his possible replacement. He is not the only one and ther names being discussed include one of former spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, the sources said.

In his Pakistan Day speech on Thursday at the embassy in New Delhi, Basit said the long-standing unresolved issue of Kashmir must be resolved as per the "aspirations of Kashmiris".

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-mulling-options-for-abdul-basits-replacement-sources/articleshow/57825824.cms

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WPB, VAWC introduced in line with teachings of Islam: Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif

March 26, 2017

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said Violence Against Women Centre (VAWC) would help establish gender equality, especially by protecting the woman rights.

After inaugurating the VAWC building in Multan here Saturday, he said a society can make progress only if it gives due rights to women. The Women Protection Bill (WPB) and Violence Against Women Centre (VAWC) have been introduced in line with teachings of Islam to protect women rights, he added.

The VAWC would help register FIRs, and provide psychological and legal help to women. Also, forensic, investigative, medicolegal, examination and rehabilitation treatment would be provided under one roof, added Shahbaz Sharif.

Nobody would dare to throw acid on any woman and the centre would ensure timely justice and offer protection to the aggrieved women. The Centre would protect honour and dignity of women. It is first of its kind in the region and the country, he added.

The CM said the government was offering various facilities to people. Recently introduce Metro Bus in Multan is benefitting students, labourers and others. The Punjab government is spending Rs 6 billion on financial assistance to 460,000 students and students of class 6 and ontowards, are given Rs 1,000 per month.

Similarly, Endowment Fund is also facilitating 175,000 intelligent students. We have spent Rs 11 billion to manage education of intelligent students in well reputed educational institutions, said Shahbaz Sharif, adding TEVTA was also providing technical skills to girls in order to empower them.

Shahbaz said the electricity loadshedding would end in the ongoing year. Opponents are making undue criticism of projects of the incumbent government, especially of Metro Bus. But now, they themselves are launching it in Peshawar, he added.

We would not criticise them, the CM said Pakistan Muslim League-N as well as the whole nation would accept and respect decision of the Supreme Court, he said referring to the Panama leaks case. All those who ruled the country and misused country’s resources must be held accountable, Shahbaz added.

Punjab Governor Malik Rafique Rajwana also spoke on the occasion. He said there was need to abolish culture of intolerance. He lauded the Punjab government for setting up VAWC in Multan and hoped it would surely help protect rights of women.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah also hailed establishment of VAWC, saying such steps were foundations for making the country a welfare state. He said the PML-N government, under the vibrant leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, was making Pakistan an Asian Tiger.

He recalled the PML-N had also delivered in 1990s and every country was convinced Pakistan was becoming an Asian Tiger. The journey of progress was stopped in 1999. Now, the country, once again, is making progress and everyone is acknowledging and witnessing progress and prosperity. On Nov 2, 2016, an attempt was made to to lock down the country, but people foiled that bid, said Rana Sanaullah.

We respect Supreme Court and believe the SC judges were noble persons, he added. Provincial Minister for Population Welfare Zakia Shahnawaz, Provincial Minister for Zakat and Ushar Naghma Mushtaq, DG CM’s Strategic Reform Unit Salman Sufi, local parliamentarians, mayor, district council chairmen, civil society members and others were also present on this occasion.—APP

pakobserver.net/wpb-vawc-introduced-in-line-with-teachings-of-islam-shahbaz/

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Pakistan starts building fence along Afghan border

AP | Mar 26, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says it has started building a fence along the Afghan border in areas where it says militants have launched cross-border attacks on security posts in recent weeks.

Building a fence along the disputed border could further heighten tensions between the two countries, which have long accused each other of turning a blind eye to Islamic militants operating along the porous frontier.

Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, the head of Pakistan's armed forces, announced the construction of fencing in "high threat zones'' Saturday during a visit to tribal regions along the border, saying it was in the interest of both countries.

The two countries share a 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) border known as the Durand Line, which was drawn during colonial times and is not recognized by the Afghan government.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-starts-building-fence-along-afghan-border/articleshow/57837595.cms

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Arab World

Nearly 470 Terrorists Killed in Clashes in Eastern Damascus

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and its allies inflicted nearly 470 casualties on the terrorists in Jobar district of Damascus during clashes in the past few days.

The fierce clashes between the army troops and the terrorists in Jobar district of Eastern Damascus led to the death of hundreds of terrorists and the government forces' control over all occupied regions.

The General Staff of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces also announced that the country's soldiers have regained control of all lost lands in Jobar.

Relevant reports said on Friday that the Syrian army troops captured terrorist-occupied regions in Jobar and damaged an operation room of the militants.

The army troops won back control of a textile plant in the Northern parts of Jobar district after heavy clashes with al-Nusra (Fatah al-Sham) Front terrorists.

Concurrently, the Syrian air force and artillery units targeted the terrorists' positions with heavy strikes.

A field source also reported that the Syrian fighter jets pounded the operations room of Faylaq al-Rahman terrorist group in Jobar, killing all the militants inside.

Meantime, the Syrian soldiers targeted a terrorist base in Sadkoub region, inflicting at least 10 casualties on the militants.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960105000373

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Syrian Army Scores more Victories against ISIL in Eastern Aleppo

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and their popular allies continued their advances against ISIL in the Eastern territories of Aleppo province and managed to take back six more villages after hours of non-stop clashes with terrorists.

The army soldiers and resistance forces that had liberated the key city of Deir Hafer yesterday engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL and drove the terrorists out of the villages of Um al-Mari, Shreimeh, Jnat Salameh, Had Housh, al-Qseer and Khraej Daham.

In relevant developments in the province on Saturday, the strategic city of Deir Hafer, the last ISIL stronghold in the Eastern part of Aleppo province, was captured by the Syrian army and its allied forces after heavy clashes with the terrorist group, giving the government forces a major platform for initiating a major assault on Raqqa, the ISIL's self-proclaimed capital in Syria.

The army units could win back the city after fierce clashes and killing and wounding tens of ISIL terrorists on Saturday.

The latest reports said the army's engineering units had already started operations to cleanse the region from bombs and mines planted by the terrorists at the entrances of the city.

Meantime, the ISIL terrorists fled to Maskaneh city after withdrawal from Deir Hafer to prevent the army's further advances in the region, added the reports.

The Syrian army forces had completed their siege over the strategic city of Deir Hafer on Friday.

The army units started massive and heavy attacks against the terrorists in Deir Hafer region from the two Northern and Southern directions, and liberated the two towns of Jeni al-Salameh and Um al-Mara near Um Adaseh and Khalileh towns just to the East of Deir Hafer.

All supply routes of the terrorist group in the region had been blocked on Friday.

A military source predicted on Friday that the Syrian soldiers were on the verge of a complete victory and would soon capture Deir Hafer as ISIL's defense lines were collapsing in the city.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960106000123

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Al-Nusra Suffers Heavy Casualties in Syrian Army Attacks in Dara'a

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- More than 20 terrorists of Al-Nusra Front (Fatah al-Sham Front) were killed in the continued attacks of the Syrian Army soldiers on terrorists' positions in the Southern province of Dara'a, local sources said.

The sources said that the army soldiers clashed fiercely with Al-Nusra terrorists on a road connecting the town of Enkhil to Ethraya town, East of al-Mleha al-Sharqyia region, Ebta’a town and Dara'a al-Balad district in Dara'a city, leaving over 20 terrorists dead and several more wounded.

They added that 3 command centers, a barricade, a machinegun, an SUV vehicle and a bulldozer of the terrorists were also destroyed in the attacks.

Also, the army units killed a number of Al-Nusra Front terrorists in the Southern city of Dara'a in massive strikes on their positions on Thursday.

The army soldiers carried out a series of military operations against the Al-Nusra moves on the road between al-Mokhaiem and Ghirz prison, killing a number of them and destroying a tank and a vehicle.

The army forces also killed and injured tens of Al-Nusra terrorists as they attacked their gatherings in separate areas in Dara'a al-Balad in the Southern province of Dara'a.

Also, an Al-Nusra watch post Southeast of al-Maslekh (slaughterhouse) area in Dara'a al-Balad district was also destroyed.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960106000148

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Mosul exodus as air strikes kill 'dozens'

AFP | Updated: Mar 25, 2017

NEAR MOSUL: Air strikes have killed dozens of civilians in west Mosul in recent days, officials said on Saturday, as the number of people fleeing fighting against jihadists in the area topped 200,000.

Hundreds of thousands more are still in danger inside the city, where Iraqi forces have recaptured a series of neighbourhoods since the operation to retake west Mosul from the Islamic State group was launched last month.

Both Iraqi aircraft and those from an international US-led coalition are carrying out strikes in the Mosul area, but neither side has admitted responsiblity for the recent civilian deaths.

"There are dozens of bodies still under the rubble," Bashar al-Kiki, the head of the Nineveh provincial council, told AFP.

"Efforts to remove the bodies from under the rubble are ongoing," Kiki said.

Nawfal Hammadi, the governor of Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, said the coalition had carried out the strikes in the city's Mosul al-Jadida area, killing "more than 130 civilians."

"The Daesh terrorist organisation is seeking to stop the advance of the Iraqi forces in Mosul at any cost, and it is gathering civilians... and using them as human shields," Hammadi told AFP, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

Other officials said that hundreds of people had died in the strikes. It was not possible to independently confirm the tolls.

Omar Mohanned Sumayr and his uncle Manhal, both of whom have now fled Mosul, said that a building with 170 people inside next to their own house had been destroyed when IS forces in the area were targeted from the air.

"The house fell on the heads of the families," Sumayr said, adding that all 170 people inside were killed.

He said that IS fighters and an explosives-rigged vehicle were targeted, while Manhal said that IS snipers firing on Iraqi forces had prompted the strike.

"Daesh snipers went up on the houses and opened fire on the Iraqi forces," after which a plane targeted them with a missile, he said.

An Iraqi brigadier general said that strikes had damaged more than 27 residential buildings and that three of them were completely destroyed.

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the strikes were carried out after IS targeted military aircraft and attacked Iraqi forces with sniper fire.

The United Nations said it was "profoundly concerned" by the reported deaths from the air raids, and called for all parties to the conflict to protect civilians in the course of the battle.

"We are stunned by this terrible loss of life and wish to express our deepest condolences to the many families who have reportedly been impacted by this tragedy," Lise Grande, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said in a statement.

"Nothing in this conflict is more important than protecting civilians," Grande said.

"International humanitarian law is clear. Parties to the conflict -- all parties -- are obliged to do everything possible to protect civilians. This means that combatants cannot use people as human shields and cannot imperil lives through indiscriminate use of fire-power," she said.

More than 200,000 people have fled west Mosul since Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake it on February 19, an Iraqi ministry said Saturday.

"The number of displaced from the areas of the right bank (west side) of the city of Mosul has risen to 201,275 people," the ministry of migration and displaced said in a statement.

The UN said Thursday that there were around 600,000 people left in west Mosul, 400,000 of whom are "trapped" in the Old City area under siege-like conditions.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/mosul-exodus-as-air-strikes-kill-dozens/articleshow/57830611.cms

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Syrian Gov't Forces Establish Full Security at Kuweires Airbase

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army could establish full security at Kuweires military airport after liberating tens of towns, villages and strategic heights in Eastern Aleppo.

A military source said that full security has prevailed in the airbase and the army's positions in Eastern Aleppo for the first time since 2014 after the strategic city of Deir Hafer was won back from the ISIL terrorists earlier today.

The army has managed seize control of over 170 towns and villages and tens of strategic heights from the ISIL since the start of its military operations in Eastern Aleppo in January 2017.

The Syrian army forces had completed their siege over Deir Hafer on Friday and liberated the city earlier on Saturday.

The army units started massive and heavy attacks against the terrorists in Deir Hafer region from the two Northern and Southern directions, and liberated the two towns of Jeni al-Salameh and Um al-Mara near Um Adaseh and Khalileh towns just to the East of Deir Hafer on Friday.

All supply routes of the terrorist group in the region had been blocked on Friday.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960105000300

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Army Captures Terrorist-Held Regions in Northern Hama

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army troops launched massive operations against al-Nusra (Fatah al-Sham) Front in Northern Hama and regained control of lost lands.

The last group of terrorists stationed in Shizar village in Northwestern Hama was annihilated in the army operation and their vehicles and military equipment were destroyed.

Shizar village was liberated after the operations by the government forces.

Meantime, the Syrian army units engaged in heavy clashes with the terrorists who had entered the villas in Kafr al-Toun region, killing and wounding a large number of militants.

The remaining terrorists left their weapons and ammunition in the battleground and fled the scene.

Also, the engineering units of the army started the demining operations in the region after its liberation.

On Friday, the Syrian army warded off an al-Nusra Front offensive on several towns in Northern Hama and regained control of the recently-lost areas in a pursuing counterattack.

The army units launched a rapid counterattack on Al-Nusra gathering centers and moves in Northern Hama, killing a large number of militants and destroying 3 tanks and 5 armored vehicles.

The Syrian soldiers also, in special operations, targeted the terrorists' hideouts and moves near several towns in Northern Hama and destroyed their military convoys.

Meantime, they could liberate the two recently-lost towns of Khattab and Azreh from Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa terrorists.

The government troops also managed to fortify their defense lines against the terrorists' attacks.

Also, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets launched airstrikes against the al-Nusra terrorists' positions in Maardas and Souran.

Meanwhile, the army smashed the militants' weapons and ammunitions depot in Kafr Zita, causing a big explosion that killed tens of terrorists.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960105000232

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Europe

Only Targeting Muslims in Anti-Terror Schemes Is Wrong, Says Jeremy Corbyn

Mar 26, 2017

The Government's Prevent strategy should be broadened and focus on all communities to stop Muslims feeling singled out, Jeremy Corbyn has suggested.

The Labour leader said the counter-terrorism strategy is "often counter-productive" and casts "suspicion" over the whole Muslim community in the UK.

Speaking to ITV's Peston On Sunday programme in the wake of Wednesday's London terror attack, Mr Corbyn suggested the Government's deradicalisation programme needed to be reformed.

He said: "I talk to people in the Muslim community, I talk to people in mosques, I talk to people in churches, I talk to people that go to synagogues, all kinds of different faiths and different groups.

"I think what Prevent has often done is seen to target the Muslim community, not anybody else, looks to say there is a kind of suspicion over the whole community and it's actually often counter-productive."

He continued: "Deal with the issue of far right extremism within our society, deal with the issue of racism in our society, deal with the issues of discrimination within our society, deal with the issues of the perceptions of stop and search within our society, above all be inclusive of people and what Prevent does, it says 'hang on, let's look at only the Muslim community'."

When pushed on exactly what he believed needed to change, he said: "I'm saying broaden it into an agenda of inclusion."

"Focus it on all communities," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn insisted that Labour is ready for an early general election should Prime Minister Theresa May decide to pursue one.

On the possibility of an early general election being called, Mr Corbyn said Labour is ready and would not block a Government bid to repeal the Fixed-term Parliament Act which would allow a poll to take place before 2020.

He said: "We are developing our policies but clearly if an election is called we can bring all that forward and we are ready, yes."

He added: "It wouldn't be just us actually because it (repealing the Fixed-term Parliament Act) requires two thirds of all MPs to vote for it.

"We would not block it, of course not, because if that's what is on offer, I don't know if that's in her mind or not.

"She certainly hasn't discussed it with me."

Mr Corbyn was also grilled on whether he would back a second referendum on Scottish independence.

He said he does not believe a second referendum is a good idea but that if the Scottish Parliament calls for one Westminster should not block it.

He said: "If that is what the Scottish Parliament wants then I think that it would be wrong for Westminster to say to Scotland 'well we gave you this devolution but sorry, this is where it stops'."

When asked if that meant he would back another referendum on independence, he said: "The principle of having it, yes, of course. One has to discuss the questions of timing and the date of it."

standard.co.uk/news/politics/only-targeting-muslims-in-antiterror-schemes-is-wrong-says-jeremy-corbyn-a3499421.html

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Muslim-born restaurant owner feeds cops and medics for free during UK attack

Mar 26, 2017

Ibrahim Dogus, who was ordered to close his three eateries, decided to keep open one of them so that police officers had a place to eat.

London: A Muslim-born restaurateur has fed hundreds of emergency service workers for free in the aftermath of a deadly terror attack on the UK Parliament.

Ibrahim Dogus, who was ordered to close his three eateries, however decided to keep open one of them, which was yards from Westminster Bridge, so that police officers had a place to eat and keep warm.

"I went to one of the officers and said 'I can shut all the businesses, but I want you guys and all the emergency staff to use this place for food, drinks, and for warmth for free'," he was quoted as saying by The Independent.

"All these great people need our support. Some of them tried to give us money. One said, 'I'm a police officer, you have to take my money.' We said, 'We're not going to take any money from you."

Dogus kept the restaurant open "until the last officer was fed". He estimates he fed between 300 and 500 emergency workers from the police, London Ambulance Service, and London Fire Brigade, the paper said.

"We wanted to play our role in terms of supporting the emergency crew. This was happening right at our doorstep. If you walk two seconds on my doorstep I would be on the bridge. I use the bridge to take my kids to school, not on that day."

All three of Dogus' Kurdish restaurants Troia, Cucina and Westminster Kitchen were inside an exclusion zone cordoned off by police in the aftermath of Wednesday's attack.

Dogus said he was born into a Muslim family but does not currently practice any religion.

Five people were killed and 50 injured when a man, inspired by radical Islamist ideology, mowed down pedestrians on a bridge and stabbed a police officer outside parliament complex before being shot dead by Scotland Yard officers.

asianage.com/newsmakers/260317/muslim-born-restaurant-owner-feeds-cops-and-medics-for-free-during-uk-attack.html

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Muslims come together to condemn 'barbaric' terror attack as a 'violation of Islam'

Mar 26, 2017

A global Muslim leader told followers that the Westminster terror attack was a “violation of everything Islam stands for”.

His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Caliph of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC), said that terrorist acts carried out in the name of Islam were against its true teachings.

He was speaking at the National Peace Symposium being held at the Bait-Ul-Futuh Mosque in Morden, south London.

The caliph said: "First of all, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to all those affected by Wednesday's terror attack at Westminster.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of London at this tragic time.

"On behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community I wish to make it categorically clear that we condemn all such acts of terrorism and offer our heartfelt sympathies to the victims of this atrocity."

He added: "No matter what terrorists may claim, under no circumstances are indiscriminate acts, or killings ever justified."

Referring to Islamist terrorists, he continued: "Their barbaric acts are a violation of everything that Islam stands for."

The AMC is a peaceful Islamic movement that has denounced all forms of extremism and promotes peace.

It has been in the UK for more than a century, and has around 35,000 UK members.

Across the world it has tens of millions of members spread across 206 countries.

The theme for this year's conference was Global Conflicts and the Need for Justice and saw Hiroshima survivor and campaigner, Setsuko Thurlow, awarded with the international Advancement of Peace prize in recognition of her lifelong struggle for nuclear disarmament.

Prime Minister Theresa May sent her best wishes for the event.

In a message to the conference, she said: "The symposium is an annual reminder of your community's commitment to promoting peace around the world."

Mrs May added that she appreciated the work of the AMC in promoting justice and tolerance throughout society.

As well as murdered police officer Keith Palmer, Khalid Masood's victims in the attack included US tourist Kurt Cochran and his wife Melissa, from Utah, who were on the last day of a trip celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Mr Cochran was killed and Mrs Cochran was badly injured.

Aysha Frade, who worked in administration at independent sixth-form school DLD College London, in Westminster, also died. She is believed to be a 43 year-old married mother of two.

Leslie Rhodes, a retired window cleaner from Clapham, south London, died from injuries sustained in the attack. He was described by neighbours as a "lovely man".

standard.co.uk/news/uk/muslims-come-together-to-condemn-barbaric-terror-attack-as-a-violation-of-islam-a3499386.html

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Showing common touch, Pope visits Muslim, elderly families in Milan

March 26th, 2017

MILAN: Pope Francis showed the common touch during a trip to Italy’s business capital on Saturday, visiting the homes of working-class families, including a Muslim one, and using an outdoor portable toilet.

Instead of making his entry into the northern city via its grand centre, site of a Gothic cathedral, top fashion labels and the famed La Scala opera house, he started his one-day visit at a bleak public housing project on the outskirts.

He stopped at three small apartments, one of them home to Mihoual Abdel Karim, a Muslim immigrant from Morocco who lives there with his wife and three children. “It was very emotional. It was like having a friend in the house,” said Karim, who works at a pharmaceutical factory and whose wife wears the veil. They offered him a snack of sweets, nuts, dates and milk.

Since his election in 2013, the former bishop of Buenos Aires has made reaching out to the downtrodden a hallmark of his papacy, renouncing many of the perks associated with his role as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

He has shunned the spacious papal apartments in the Vatican in favour of a small suite in a guest house, is driven in a simple car rather than a limousine and has never used the luxurious lakeside papal summer residence south of Rome.

Francis then dropped in on an elderly Italian couple in their 80s, both of whom have major health problems.

Residents of the 10-storey complex built in the 1970s say elevators often break down and that drug dealing and petty crime are growing problems. The area was dotted with abandoned cars until recently, when it was cleaned up for the papal visit.

Before addressing residents of the neighbourhood who had gathered in an open space, Francis startled some onlookers by walking without hesitation into a portable toilet stall that had been put there for use by the crowd.

Father Antonio Spadaro, who has interviewed the pope several times and written books about him, tweeted a picture of the 80-year-old pontiff emerging from the red-and-white plastic stall.

“Pope Francis ... in Milan, uses a chemical toilet like ordinary people,” he tweeted.

Francis later addressed priests and nuns in the cathedral and then had lunch with some 100 prisoners at the city’s San Vittore jail.

dawn.com/news/1322871/showing-common-touch-pope-visits-muslim-elderly-families-in-milan

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Westminster killer Khalid Masood had no links to Islamic State, says security source

Mar 26, 2017

ISLAMIC State was simply trying to “jump on the bandwagon” by claiming responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, senior security sources believe.

Security sources say IS was simply trying to "jump on the bandwagon" by claiming responsibility

In truth, GCHQ believe IS had nothing to do with the attack and that killer Khalid Masood had never exchanged a word with the terror group.

Within 24 hours of Wednesday’s atrocity, the group’s Amaq propaganda agency said a “soldier of Islamic State” was behind the incident.

It said British-born Masood was following a call made by the group to launch attacks on civilians and security forces in countries allied to the US-led coalition bombing its territories in Syria and Iraq.

Last night an insider rubbished the claims, saying IS had “absolutely nothing to do with it. They are just jumping on the bangwagon.

“It is 100 per cent categorically untrue to suggest that they were in any way involved.

“Initial analysis of Masood’s communications suggest he had no contact with them whatsoever.”

Within 24 hours the group's propaganda agency said a "solder of Islamic State" was behind it

Although Masood may have been inspired by Islamist terrorism, the wording of the statement suggests no direct involvement from IS.

The 52-year-old married father-ofthree spent four years in Saudi Arabia from 2005 to 2009, before IS was established.

During a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday, Prime Minister Theresa May admitted Masood had been previously investigated by M15 over extremism but was not “part of the current intelligence picture”.

The Sunday Express has learned that within half an hour of the incident, MI5 had contacted the Home Office to demand more armed police on the streets, more money and a full security review.

Their immediate response suggests they had concerns about the lack of armed police patrolling the entrances and exits of Parliament.

express.co.uk/news/uk/784006/Westminster-killer-Khalid-Masood-no-links-Islamic-state-says-security-source         

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Moderate Muslims have a role to play in combatting the West's anti-Islam stance

March 26, 2017

Tourists and Londoners return to Westminster a day after London terrorist attack    IBTimes UK

After that demented man by whatever name he was claiming when he ruinously drove into Parliament, I was relieved not to have been called by newspapers to write pieces or make comments about how most Muslims were law-abiding citizens who quietly went about our days being decent citizens. After the 7/7 atrocity, I wrote a piece for the Evening Standard adopting the anti-Gulf War slogan "not in my name" and am pleased to see it's been used much more widely since.

But it doesn't really get us any closer to establishing routes to radicalisation. Filling Trafalgar Square to express our outrage and solace and filling huge media time tracing the man's steps are understandable knee-jerk reactions. What they don't do is make any safer (indeed, the veteran journalist Simon Jenkins has accused the BBC of playing into the hands of terrorists by giving them so much of the publicity they seek).

The suggestion that Khalid Masood was radicalised in prison is probably the most important lead we can tangibly work on.

Just under a decade ago I was asked by Business in the Community's Mosaic programme (now part of The Prince's Trust) to lead a "Seeing is Believing" tour of a prison and reform programmes to understand why so many young Muslims were being locked up – the number has doubled in the last ten years. One in 20 of Britons are Muslim but one in seven inmates are. They are mostly gang and drug-related offences – an estimated 1% are on terror charges.

Conversion rates to Islam in prison are high but hardly ever on religious grounds – they vary from gaining protection from Muslim gangs to access to better quality food from the halal catering. Conversion to extremism is altogether a different matter. Radicalisation recruiters have a compelling narrative: "You don't think Britain and the West is anti-Muslim? Then whey have we got the highest rates of unemployment, why are we living in the worst parts of the country. Any why are so many of us being locked up in this prison?"

Radicalisers have the one thing that counterextremist programmes don't – time. You're together all day, all night. And it's not just in prisons – hospitals, as I discovered during my time as chair of the Quilliam Foundation advisory board, are an easy target too. You're a patient lying in bed all day, bored out of your mind and some nice chap pulls up a chair and starts chatting to you. Schools, colleges and universities are rife for recruitment.

Security services have an extremely tough time tracking and monitoring. The fact that we haven't witnessed more attacks like we've seen Paris and elsewhere must stand as testimony to the effectiveness of what they do against such a complicated backdrop.

Yet we can't leave it to them. Moderate Muslims can't just say we're mostly not like that because the truth is we are. We largely went to the same schools and colleges, we lived in the same areas. We just chose a better path. And we have a crucial role to play in combatting the narrative that the West is anti-Islam because it doesn't end there; because unchallenged, it leads to calls of action like the one we have just witnessed.

Many successful British Muslims I know share with me a reluctance to define ourselves by the religion we were born into but it's a posture we don't have the luxury of using to put out our palm and say, "Sorry, this isn't about me."

Because in the gangs of the east end of London, Birmingham or Bradford they don't hear about – let alone meet people – who often grew up not far from them but found that if you played by the rules, success could be yours. They don't think that Olympic champions, successful businessmen, members of parliament, cabinet ministers, mayors, celebrity TV chefs, chief executives of banks could be cut from the same cloth as theirs.

And they don't because those of us who fall into one of those categories don't have a narrative to share other than "I worked really hard to get where I am".

So whilst government should do more to act on bias in the workplace that sees Muslims being discriminated against and businesses should be named and shamed for their lack of diversity, successful Muslims have a tool in their hands that we can put to work straight away and it is as simple as this. Rather than encourage people to bite the hand that has fed them admittedly rather badly, let's show what we've done when we've held that hand and then let's squeeze to feed everyone better.

We should take the lead and we should own the problem.

ibtimes.co.uk/moderate-muslims-have-role-play-combatting-wests-anti-islam-stance-1613752

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South Asia

Blasts kill six, wound dozens as Bangladesh commandos storm Islamist hideout

Sunday, 26 March, 2017

Two explosions ripped through a crowd, killing six people and injuring some 50 in Bangladesh’s northeastern city of Sylhet as army commandos stormed an Islamist extremist hideout.

The “powerful” blasts went off Saturday some 400 metres from the hideout, targeting police and hundreds of onlookers who were watching the commandos conduct an anti-militant operation at a five-storey apartment building, police said.

Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet police Basudeb Banik said “six people including two police officers were killed” in the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group via its propaganda agency Amaq.

He said around 50 people were injured including about a dozen police and security officers.

Several people were reported to be in critical condition, including the head of intelligence of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which is tasked with combating Islamist extremism in the country, he said.

Bangladeshi army commandos stand next to an armoured vehicle during an operation to storm an Islamist extremist hideout in the city of Sylhet. Photo: AFP

Police primarily suspect the blasts were the work of a new faction of the homegrown extremist group, Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which has been blamed for a wave of attacks in recent years.

Police could not confirm if it was a suicide attack but believe one of the attackers could be among the dead.

IS claimed via Amaq that there were “dozens killed and wounded among Bangladeshi forces as a result of the detonation of an explosive device”, according to US-based monitoring agency SITE Intelligence Group.

Banik rejected the claim, saying IS does not have any presence in the country.

The blasts occurred after an hours-long exchange of gunfire and commandos rescued “78 civilian hostages” from the hideout where several Islamist militants were holed up in a ground-floor apartment.

“Our main task was to rescue the hostages, which we have done successfully. We were able to rescue all 78 people safely,” army spokesman Brigadier General Fakhrul Ahsan said.

He said the extremists were still inside the apartment building where they had barricaded themselves and laid explosive devices.

“As a result the whole operation is being conducted carefully,” he said.

Bangladesh Army commandos take part in an operation at an Islamist extremist hideout in Sylhet. Photo: AFP

The commandos backed by armoured personnel carriers launched the operation after a more than 30-hour standoff that began early Friday morning when police sealed off the building as militants detonated small bombs.

The spokesman could not say how many extremists were in the building, but police said there were at least two including a woman.

“They are Islamist extremists,” police spokesman Musa said, adding they shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest).

Bangladesh police establish a crime scene after an attacker was killed in front of a police box at the entrance to Dhaka’s international airport. Photo: AFP

Police used loudspeakers to ask the extremists to surrender, but they refused to give up, Musa said.

The raid came after a series of suicide attacks on security camps by Islamist extremists this month including one at a police checkpoint near the country’s main international airport on Friday night.

Two of the three attacks, including Friday’s blast in which the suicide attacker was killed, were claimed by the Islamic State group.

This month a police elite unit also stormed a building outside the port city of Chittagong, killing four members of JMB, including a woman.

IS has claimed responsibility for a wave of killings since 2015 including a major attack on a Dhaka cafe last year in which 22 people, including 18 foreign hostages, were killed.

The Bangladeshi government denies IS has any presence in the country, arguing instead that a new faction of JMB was behind the attacks.

scmp.com/news/asia/south-asia/article/2082204/blasts-kill-six-wound-dozens-bangladesh-commandos-storm

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ISIS execute 3 civilians on charges of supporting police in North of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Mar 26 2017

At least three civilians have been executed in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan by militants affiliated with the offshoot of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

According to the local officials, the incident took place in the restive Darzab district and the victims were all ordinary civilians.

Provincial police chief Abdul Hafiz Khashi confirmed the incident but rejected the allegations against the victims.

He said the three civilians had no links or cooperation with any government or security institution as claimed by the ISIS loyalists.

The security situation in northern Jawzjan has sharply deteriorated during the recent months as the loyalists of ISIS terrorist group have expanded their operations in some remote districts of the province.

At least ten policemen and a woman were killed in an attack carried out by the ISIS militants in this province last month.

Earlier, the ISIS militants killed at least six workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross and abducted two others.

There are still no reports regarding the whereabouts and fate of the abducted ICRC workers despite the international aid organization issued a statement urging the militants to release the hostages.

khaama.com/isis-execute-3-civilians-on-charges-of-supporting-police-in-north-of-afghanistan-02439

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An al-Qaida leader killed in Afghanistan airstrike: Pentagon

AP | Mar 26, 2017

Qari Yasin was a senior terrorist figure from Balochistan and had plotted multiple al-Qaida terror attacks.

US airstrike killed al-Qaida leader responsible for a deadly hotel attack in Islamabad in 2008

He was also responsible for the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team.

Defense Secretary James Mattis (Reuters Photo) Defense Secretary James Mattis (Reuters Photo)

WASHINGTON: A US counterterrorism airstrike earlier this month in Afghanistan killed an al-Qaida leader responsible for a deadly hotel attack in Islamabad in 2008 and the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, the Pentagon said Saturday.

In confirming the death of Qari Yasin, US officials said Yasin was a senior terrorist figure from Balochistan, Pakistan, had ties to the group Tehrik-e Taliban and had plotted multiple al-Qaida terror attacks. The airstrike that led to his death was conducted March 19 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.

Yasin plotted the Sept. 20, 2008, bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed dozens, officials said. The victims included two American service members, Air Force Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez of El Paso, Texas, and Navy Cryptologic Technician 3rd Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O'Bryant of Theodore, Alabama, U.S. officials said.

The bus attack in the Pakistani city of Lahore killed six Pakistani policemen and two civilians and wounded six members of the cricket team.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in the statement: "The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice.''

The killing of Yasin in eastern Afghanistan lends credence to Pakistani claims that its militant enemies have found sanctuaries there.

The neighboring countries routinely charge each other with harboring the other's enemies.

Relations deteriorated earlier this year after a series of attacks in Pakistan that killed 125 people led Islamabad to close its border with Afghanistan for more than one month.

The two countries have exchanged lists of insurgents hiding out on the other's soil and Afghanistan has also given Pakistan the locations of 23 sanctuaries where its Taliban militants are hiding. Kabul is demanding they be closed.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/an-al-qaida-leader-killed-in-afghanistan-airstrike-pentagon/articleshow/57835237.cms

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Afghan forces and civilians suffer casualties in Nangarhar attack

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Mar 26 2017

A number of the Afghan security forces and ordinary civilians suffered casualties during an attack on a security post in eastern Nangarhar province late on Saturday evening.

The provincial government in a statement said the attack was carried out in the vicinity of Najmuddin Akhundzada roundabout located in Behsud district.

The statement further added that two civilians were killed in the attack along with two soldiers inside the security post.

Another soldier also sustained injuries in the attack, the provincial government added.

According to the local officials, the assailant militants also suffered casualties after the Afghan forces responded to their fire but the exact number has not been ascertained so far.

Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in eastern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups have recently increased their insurgency activities in some parts of the province during the recent years.

Taliban insurgents and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group are actively operating in a number of the remote districts of Nangarhar.

This comes as the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-insurgency operations in some of the restive districts of Nangarhar as part of the Shaheen-25 operations launched over a month ago.

khaama.com/afghan-forces-and-civilians-suffer-casualties-in-nangarhar-attack-02438

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High-Profile Al-Qaeda leader Qari Yasin killed in Paktika

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Mar 26 2017

The United States confirmed the killing of a high-profile Al-Qaeda leader in an airstrike conducted in southeastern Paktika province of Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense in a statement said it confirms that a U.S. counter-terrorism airstrike conducted March 19 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, resulted in the death of Qari Yasin, a well-known al Qaida terrorist leader responsible for the deaths of dozens of innocent victims, including two American service members.

The statement further added that Yasin, a senior terrorist figure from Balochistan, Pakistan, had ties to Tehrik-e Taliban and had plotted multiple al Qaida terror attacks, including the Sept. 20, 2008, bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed dozens of innocent people, among them U.S. Air Force Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez and Navy Cryptologic Technician Third Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O’Bryant.

According to the Defense Department, Yasin was also responsible for the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed and six members of the team injured.

“The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” said Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

khaama.com/high-profile-al-qaeda-leader-qari-yasin-killed-in-paktika-02436

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Mideast

Erdoğan Slams Germany on Arms Sales Ban, Says Swastika Signs On Mosques 'Sign Of Fascism'

Mar 26, 2017

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday has called German authorities "fascist" for tolerating swastika signs to be drawn on mosques in Germany while reminding trials on neo-Nazi groups targeting the Turkish community have been ongoing for years.

The President also slammed the Germany government ban that prevents defense contractor Rheinmetall from shipping some products to Turkey.

"They call Turkey's President a 'dictator', but when we call them fascist with good reason, the German authorities get offended" Erdoğan said.

He questioned whether the authorities have taken any actions against neo-Nazi groups who have drawn swastikas on mosques in the country, and stressed that the German authorities have been reckless towards the NSU (Nationalist Socialist Underground) case.- The neo-Nazi gang NSU is accused of racially motivated murders of eight Turks and a Greek in a bombing in a predominantly Turkish neighborhood and a string of robberies between 2000 and 2006.

dailysabah.com/politics/2017/03/26/erdogan-slams-germany-on-arms-sales-ban-says-swastika-signs-on-mosques-sign-of-fascism

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Turkey Sends New Military Equipment to Euphrates Shield Operation Forces in Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish army dispatched new weapons and military equipment to the Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield Operation militants in the town of Azaz in Northern Aleppo.

The Kurdish-language website, Hawar news, reported on Saturday that the Turkish army has sent a large number of military equipment, including tens of armored vehicles and heavy and light weapons, to its forces in Azaz.

According to the report, the equipment was sent via Bab al-Salamah border crossing in Azaz.

Hawar news had reported on Thursday that a number of ISIL members have joined the Turkey-backed militants of the Euphrates Shield Operation.

The Kurdish website released images of ISIL Emir Mostafa Abi, nom de guerre Abu Ayesheh, along with two of his comrades in Homs province, and reported that he is now a member of al-Mo'tasem Bellah group.

According to Hawar news, the other two ISIL militants seen in the image are now members of Jeish al-Izzah terrorist group.

Meantime, the news website released an image of militants in ISIL uniforms standing among the Euphrates Shield Operation forces.

Hawar news had reported earlier this month that the Turkish Army troops are forcing Arab citizens in Northern Syria to join the Euphrates Shield Operation militants, killing those who do not obey.

It added that the Turkish army killed four civilians in the villages of Kari Sabi town in Northern Syria after they refused to join the Euphrates Shield Operation forces.

Hawar new went on to say that the Turkish soldiers further left the body of the killed Syrian civilians at the border region between Rojava and Bakour in Syria's Kurdistan.

The news website added that the Turkish army intended to send the four killed civilians via border to Rojava but it faced tough opposition by the civilians.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960105000421

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14 PKK militants killed in Turkey’s Tunceli

March/26/2017

A total of 14 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants were killed in an air-supported operation in the eastern province of Tunceli, the Tunceli Governor’s Office said March 25.

Tunceli Gendarmerie Commandship units launched an operation against PKK militants in the Kutuderesi region near the Tunceli-Erzincan motorway in the early hours of the morning, engaging in an armed clash with the militants.

One soldier was wounded in the initial fire and was transferred to the Fırat University Hospital in the neighboring Elazığ by a military helicopter, while additional military units were immediately dispatched to the scene.

Fourteen PKK militants were killed in the operation and their ammunitions were also seized, the Tunceli Governor’s Office said in a statement.

It added that the wounded soldier was in a stable condition.

The operation is continuing with the support of Cobra helicopters firing shots on militants’ potential escape routes.

hurriyetdailynews.com/14-pkk-militants-killed-in-turkeys-tunceli.aspx?pageID=238&nID=111263&NewsCatID=341

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Israeli Settlers Break into Al-Aqsa Mosque

Mar 26, 2017

TEHRAN (FNA)- Dozens of Israeli settlers on Sunday broke into al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, under heavy protection of Israeli police, local sources said.

A group of 53 settlers provocatively toured the holy site, while Palestinian worshippers chanted religious slogans to protest their provocative repeated visit, WAFA reported.

Israeli Jewish settlers organize provocative visits to the Islamic holy site almost on a daily basis.

The site witnessed recurrent clashes in recent years between Muslim worshipers and Israeli police, most frequently due to provocative visits by Jewish extremists who believe the mosque should be destroyed and replaced with a Jewish temple.

According to statistics released by the Jordan-run Islamic Awqaf Department, 14,806 Israeli Jewish settlers broke into al-Aqsa mosque in 2016 alone.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960106000658

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Iran says to sanction 15 US companies for Israel ties

AFP | Updated: Mar 26, 2017

TEHRAN: Iran will impose sanctions on 15 US companies for their support for Israel and its "terrorist actions", state news agency IRNA said on Sunday.

The decision, which is largely symbolic because the firms do not do business with Iran, comes two days after the US announced new sanctions on a number of foreign firms accused of collaborating with Iran's weapons programme+ .

Iran's sanctions target US firms that provide arms and equipment to Israel "for use against the Palestinians", IRNA said.

"All transactions with these firms are forbidden, their assets will be seized and their officials will not be able to obtain a visa," it added.

The firms include United Technologies, ITT Corporation, Magnum Research INC, Military Armament Corporation and Bushmaster Firearms International.

The list also included Re/Max Real Estate, which Tehran accuses of "buying and selling homes in settlements located in the occupied territories".

Tensions have mounted between Tehran and Washington+ since US President Donald Trump took office in January.

On Friday, Washington announced sanctions against foreign firms and individuals over allegedly collaborating with the weapons programmes of Iran and North Korea+ .

Trump has repeatedly criticised a July 2015 deal between Iran and world powers that saw the Islamic republic curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Washington last month imposed new sanctions on individuals and companies supporting Iran's ballistic missile programme and on its elite Revolutionary Guards.

US lawmakers are now seeking to further increase pressure, proposing a new law that would see Iran's Revolutionary Guards listed as a terrorist organisation.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iran-says-to-sanction-15-us-companies-for-israel-ties/articleshow/57838832.cms

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Erdogan says Turkey may hold referendum on EU accession bid

March 26th, 2017

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey may hold a second referendum on whether to continue with European Union accession talks, following a planned vote on April 16 that could give him sweeping new powers.

"Right now we are holding a referendum on April 16 and after that we could choose to do a second one on the (EU) accession talks and we would abide by whatever our people would say there," Erdogan told a joint forum with Britain in the southern city of Antalya.

His comments came a day after he vowed to review all political and administrative ties with the EU, including a deal to curb illegal migration, but it would maintain economic relations with the bloc.

Turkey's relations with the EU countries have soured over the past few months after Germany and the Netherlands cancelled planned campaign rallies on their territories by Turkish officials seeking to drum up support among expatriate Turks for a "yes" vote in the April referendum.

Both countries cited security concerns for their decisions, but Erdogan has accused them of using "Nazi methods" and trampling on free speech, comments infuriating several EU governments and deepening the row.

"Turkey has waited at the door (of the EU) for 54 years," he said, referring to 1963 when Ankara partnered up with the bloc's then economic union.

Turkey's accession talks with the EU began in 2005 but have progressed at a snail's pace due to concerns over its human rights record, ethnically-split Cyprus, and reluctance among some European countries to admit a largely Muslim nation.

Turkey is an integral part of a deal to keep hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing the Middle East and beyond from moving to Europe, in return for 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in EU financial aid to Ankara.

dawn.com/news/1322939/erdogan-says-turkey-may-hold-referendum-on-eu-accession-bid

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Three million new migrants may come to Turkey from Iran: Deputy PM

March/26/2017

A fresh migration wave with three million migrants is currently in the phase of mobilization from Iran to Turkey, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said March 26.

“According to information we got, there are around three million unauthorized migrants in Iran and they are in mobilization toward Turkey. Unfortunately, they are mostly Afghans again from the further east of Iran,” Kaynak said in an interview with private broadcaster CNN Türk.

Kaynak also expressed Ankara’s concern over Tehran’s indifference for the migration to Turkey.

“We have such worry that it is like the Iranian state is disregarding their migration toward Turkey, not to say that they are assisting them,” he said.

Kaynak said Turkish authorities also launched proceedings on a total of 30,000 migrants who attempted to illegally cross into the country from the border provinces of Iğdır and Ağrı just in 2016.

He also noted that migrants want to come to Turkey to use it as a transit point rather than stay in the country.

“Europe and the world should think about it. They want to come to Turkey as a transit point and they do not want to stay in Turkey. They want to cross into the west and for them, Turkey is an important barrier and is enduring an important cost,” Kaynak said.

Some 3,000 unauthorized migrants came through Iran to Turkey in 2017 to border provinces of Ağrı and Iğır, according to information from security forces and the governors.

hurriyetdailynews.com/three-million-new-migrants-may-come-to-turkey-from-iran-deputy-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=111253&NewsCatID=341

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India

Botched ISI Operation Led to Nizamuddin Dargah’s Clerics’ Detention In Pakistan

TNN | Updated: Mar 26, 2017

The duo was detained by Pakistan agencies on suspicion of an underhand agenda

Their Sufi affiliations may have raised hackles in Pakistan as such traditions are not seen as being in conformity with sanctioned religion

Syed Asif Nizami, the head priest of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami (PTI photo)Syed Asif Nizami, the head priest of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami (PTI photo)

NEW DELHI: The detention of two clerics+ from Delhi's famous Nizamuddin Dargah in Pakistan was likely to have been the result of a botched ISI operation+ as there was nothing remotely suspicious or out of place in their visit to Lahore.

The account now available suggests that the uncle-nephew duo of Asif Nizami and Nizam Nizami were detained by Pakistan intelligence operatives earlier this week on the suspicion that Nizam's frequent visits indicated an underhand agenda. Sources said that the "khadims" were only visiting Pakistan as the Nizamuddin Dargah attracts a sizeable following and that the men had not deviated from their visa permits. The duo did not travel to Sindh or make any attempt to establish contact with MQM activists as was suggested.

I was taken away from Karachi with my face covered: Cleric who went missing in Pakistan

The detention was preceded by a convenient "report" in a local publication raising doubts over the khadims being in Pakistan and the possible purpose of the visit. The detentions were possibly spurred by the suspicion that the frequent trips of Nizam to Pakistan had probably been "facilitated" by the Indian government. Asif Nizami, the older of the two, seems to have become a collateral victim as he had genuinely travelled to Pakistan on the invitation of his sister and was not as frequent a visitor as his nephew. The visits of Nizam Nizami to Pakistan were apparently motivated by a desire to meet followers and raise funds, said sources.

The Pakistan intelligence's questioning of the two did not yield anything substantial and, meanwhile, diplomatic heat had mounted leading to the clerics being set free and allowed to return to India. There is also a view that the Sufi affiliations of the two may have raised hackles in Pakistan as orthodox sections do not see such traditions to be in conformity with sanctioned religion. Sufi shrines have been attacked in Pakistan by extremist groups who see them as heretic outgrowths and intelligence agencies also reflect a fairly orthodox mindset, it is felt.

However, the unilateral operation, perhaps carried out without the political authorities being kept in the loop, seems to have backfired. As heat over the incident rose following external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj's strong intervention, the agencies involved had no option but to find reasons for the detentions and subsequently release the clerics.

Pakistani authorities had initially denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the two men.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/botched-isi-operation-led-to-clerics-detention-in-pakistan/articleshow/57832738.cms

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Jammu Alert: Terrorists Snatch AK-47 From Muslim Clerics' PSO

Mar 26, 2017

According to reports, the terrorist attacked the officer Mohammed Hanief with chilli powder and fled with the weapon.

This is being seen as the first such case in the last two decades.

In the process, one policeman got injured and was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital. He received around 8 to 19 stitches on his head.

One amongst the two terrorist was arrested and identified as Masood Ahmed Malik from Shopian, however, the other fled with rifle.

The incident took place near Mandir Masjid Point near Jewel Chowk here.

aninews.in/newsdetail-Mg/MzA1OTE0/jammu-alert-terrorists-snatch-ak-47-from-muslim-clerics-039-pso.html

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2 terrorists killed in encounter in J&K's Pulwama

PTI | Updated: Mar 26, 2017

SRINAGAR: In a swift action, two terrorists were on Sunday killed when they tried to ambush a police party that included three officers of the rank of superintendent of police in south Kashmir.

The incident happened at Padgampora when a cavalcade of senior superintendents of police of Pulwama and Awantipora Raees Ahmed and Zahid Malik was going along with the district's additional superintendent of police Chandan Kohli.

The terrorists, who were travelling in a car, came from behind and started firing at the vehicle carrying Kohli in the area on the border of Awantipora and Pulwama, officials said.

All the police personnel quickly took cover and retaliated the fire in which two terrorists were killed, they said.

The police have seized two weapons and the identity of the terrorists is being ascertained, Deputy Inspector General of Police (South Kashmir) S Pani said here.

He lauded the role of the police force which swiftly neutralised the two terrorists.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2-terrorists-killed-in-encounter-in-jks-pulwama/articleshow/57839336.cms

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Pakistan apprehends over 100 Indian fishermen off Gujarat coast

Mar 26, 2017

Pakistan apprehends over 100 Indian fishermen off Gujarat coast

AHMEDABAD: Over 100 Indian fishermen were allegedly apprehended and around 18 of their boats seized by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) off Jakhau coast in Gujarat's Kutch district, a fishermen association official said on Sunday.

"We have learnt that more than 100 fishermen who were on board around 18 fishing boats were apprehended by PMSA near the international maritime boundary line off Jakhau coast yesterday," National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF) secretary Manish Lodhari said.

"The fishermen who escaped have informed us about this," he said.

The NFF is trying to establish contact with the Pakistani agencies to get the exact number of those abducted by PMSA, he said.

The PMSA had earlier this month also apprehended 115 fishermen and seized 19 boats.

"In March so far, the PMSA has separately held over 225 fishermen along with nearly three dozen boats," Lodhari said.

The development comes after the Indian Coast Guard captured nine Pakistani nationals along with a fishing boat off Jakhau coast in Kutch on Friday.

Last month, the BSF had apprehended four abandoned Pakistani fishing boats near Sir Creek in Kutch district during an extensive search operation in the area.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-apprehends-over-100-indian-fishermen-off-gujarat-coast/articleshow/57839257.cms

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North America

Mosques Across America Continue to Receive Threatening Letters

March 26th, 2017

On Thursday, March 23, authorities apprehended the person responsible for the bulk of bomb threats that have plagued the American Jewish community in recent months. The Israeli-American teen accused of making the threats used extremely sophisticated identity masking techniques, which made it difficult for investigators to identify him. It was only after the suspect made an error in his security routine that he was caught. The remaining threats, which were not attributed to the teen, were allegedly made by former journalist Juan Thompson, who was arrested earlier this month.

These arrests are undoubtedly good news and hopefully will put an end to the waves of threats that have caused months of terror and disruption at Jewish institutions around the world. This resolution stands in contrast, however, to another wave of threats directed at American religious institutions. Starting late last fall, at least a dozen mosques around the country received the same threatening letter, addressing Muslims as “Children of Satan.” The sender claimed that President Donald Trump is “going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews,” and signed the message “Americans for a Better Way.”

And my mosque becomes the latest to receive a copy of the antisemitic cowboy hate letter preaching genocide of Muslims. Ugly times.

The letters received a fair amount of coverage when they first appeared at mosques in the fall, but, since then, there has been little follow up on the story and no arrests have been made. After a period of inactivity, another letter was sent to a mosque in Iowa just this past week.

“Americans for a Better Way” is not the only source of written threats against American mosques. Throughout the month of February, mosques in the state of Georgia were sent a variety of letters and emails filled with threats of violence against Muslims. During the last week in February, two mosques in Maryland received threatening letters. During the first week in March, mosques in six states received written bomb threats. And the list goes on.

The FBI is investigating some of these incidents, though it appears it has not designated the “Americans for a Better Way” letters a hate crime. The president of the Iowa mosque told USA Today he is meeting with the FBI on Monday.

Threatening letters are just one facet of the many attacks recently directed at Muslim institutions. Between January 1 and March 20 of this year, there have been thirty-three documented threats, acts of vandalism, and arson attacks against American mosques, according to CNN, a nearly 100% increase from the same period last year.

muftah.org/mosques-across-america-continue-receive-threatening-letters/#.WNekyNKGN1s

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Two attackers open fire inside crowded US nightclub; 1 dead, 15 injured

AP | Updated: Mar 26, 2017

CINCINNATI: At least two people opened fire inside a crowded nightclub early Sunday morning, killing one person and wounding more than a dozen others in what authorities described as a chaotic scene.

It was not clear what prompted the shooting at the Cameo club about 1:30 am, and authorities didn't immediately have any suspects.

"Saturday night, it is a very young crowd. We have had incidents here in the past, but this is by far the worst," Capt Kim Williams said.

Several officers were working security detail at the club and performed first aid and tried to revive the person that died, Williams said.

Fifteen people were shot. Some of them drove themselves to area hospitals and others were taken by ambulance.

Authorities are interviewing several witnesses, but Williams said a lot of the club goers had left.

"The biggest problem when you have a large crowd like this and the shots ring out, a lot of the witnesses disappear,'' she said.

Authorities were asking anyone with information to come forward. Williams said investigators are checking to see if surveillance cameras were working.

WLWT reported that at least one person was in critical condition at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/two-open-fire-at-a-crowded-us-nightclub-1-killed-15-injured/articleshow/57839124.cms

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17 Year-Boy In Custody After Injuring 31 Year-Old Man During Attack At A Bradford City Centre Mosque

March 26th, 2017

A MAN has been injured in a knife attack at a Bradford city centre mosque.

The 31 year-old was assaulted by a 17 year-old boy at the Dar Alarqam Doha Mosque in Great Horton yesterday.

He was said to have suffered "minor" injuries, and police said the attacker, who also attends the mosque, was detained by other members of the congregation before police arrived.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said this morning: "Police are investigating an incident at the Dar Alarqam Doha Mosque in Bradford shortly after 4pm on Saturday, March 25.

"A 31 year-old man was attacked with a knife by a 17 year-old male, who also attends the mosque.

"The victim received minor injuries and the suspect was disarmed and detained by other members of the congregation.

"The suspect was arrested on suspicion of assault."

The attacker remains in police custody this morning as investigations continue.

On its Facebook page, the mosque issued a statement that read: "At 4:05pm, during Asr prayers at the mosque, an individual from the congregation was attacked, sustaining moderate injuries.

"The relevant authorities were contacted immediately.

"The attacker was apprehended until the arrival of the police, who will now deal with the matter.

"We want to make it clear that this attack was not motivated by racial prejudice or islamophobia, as both the victim and perpetrator are both Muslims.

"Primary investigations have shown that a mental instability may have been the reason for this attack.

"The victim is in good health and we wish him a complete and speedy recovery.

"The mosque has now been reopened and prayers will be conducted at their usual time."

Ishtiaq Ahmed, secretary of the Bradford Council for Mosques, said he had been made aware of an incident at the Doha Mosque in which two members of the same congregation had been involved.

thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/NEWS/15182458.UPDATE__Man_injured_in_knife_attack_at_mosque/

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U.S.-backed Syrian militia makes gains against Islamic State

26 Mar 20173

A Kurdish and Arab Syrian militia backed by the United States has captured the town of Karama as it prepares for an assault on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa that it expects to take place in early April, it said on Sunday.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has trapped Raqqa in a shrinking pocket of territory on the northern bank of the Euphrates and has advanced toward it in a multi-pronged offensive over several months.

Dejwar Khabat, a field commander with the SDF, said he expects the assault on Raqqa to begin in early April, affirming a timeline reported by Reuters earlier this month, after the U.S.-backed militia closes the gap on the city on more fronts.

He was answering Reuters questions in a press conference with local reporters in Karama, the last significant town to the east of Raqqa, which lies about 18km (11 miles) away along the Euphrates. Another thrust of the SDF advance has already reached a few kilometers from Raqqa in the northeast.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the SDF had almost completely captured Karama but that clashes between it and Islamic State were still going on.

To the west of Raqqa, the SDF is aiming to capture the town of Tabqa on the south bank of the Euphrates, along with a nearby dam and airbase after US helicopters helped the militia's fighters establish a bridgehead across the river last week.

Khabat said the SDF has besieged the airbase, but the Observatory said it was still several kilometers away. It was captured by Islamic State at the height of the group's expansion in August 2014 and the jihadists then killed at least 160 captive soldiers, the Observatory has said.

Islamic State has retreated with increasing pace over recent months in the face of three rival military campaigns against it in Syria. The SDF, backed by a US-led coalition, has pushed Islamic State from the north and northeast.

Syrian rebels fighting under the flag of the Free Syrian Army and backed by Turkey have taken a swathe of territory in the north along the Turkish frontier. And the Syrian army and its allies Russia, Iran and Shi'ite militias, are advancing east of Aleppo and east of Palmyra.

The Syrian army advance east of Aleppo has reached the Euphrates about 55km northwest of Tabqa, but Khabat said he did not think it had sufficient forces to enter the battle for the town.

He added that the SDF would not allow any other military force to enter Raqqa.

(Reporting By Rodi Said and Angus McDowall; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-raqqa-idUSKBN16X0GJ?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29&&rpc=401

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US military investigating alleged civilian casualties in Mosul strike

March 26th, 2017

BAGHDAD: The US-led coalition against the militant Islamic State group said on Saturday that it struck a location in west Mosul where civilians were reportedly killed by aerial bombing.

“An initial review of strike data... indicates that, at the request of the Iraqi security forces, the coalition struck (IS) fighters and equipment, March 17, in west Mosul at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties,” it said in a statement.

Iraqi officials and witnesses said that strikes in west Mosul have killed dozens of people in recent days, but the number of victims could not be independently confirmed, and the toll from the specific strike referenced by the coalition was unclear.

It said at the beginning of this month that “it is more likely than not, at least 220 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes”, while other incidents were still under investigation.

The US has been bombing IS in Iraq since August 2014, and international strikes against the jihadists have played a major role in helping the country’s forces push them back. The coalition has also carried out strikes against IS in Syria.

Iraqi aircraft have also been bombing the jihadists, but have not released figures on estimated civilian casualties from strikes they have carried out.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces have since regained much of the territory they lost.

They launched the operation to recapture Mosul in October, recapturing the city’s east before setting their sights on the smaller but more densely populated west.

dawn.com/news/1322851/us-military-investigating-alleged-civilian-casualties-in-mosul-strike

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US Airstrikes in Syria Take Civilian Tolls Again

March 26th, 2017

TEHRAN (FNA)- Several civilians were killed and wounded in the US-led coalition fighter jets' strikes on al-Omran region in Raqqa on Saturday.

Local sources in Raqqa province reported that the airstrikes have left 6 civilians, including two women and two children, dead and several others injured.

Also, the US-led coalition fighter jets pounded a school in al-Mansoureh city West of Raqqa city that hosts 50 displaced families on Wednesday.

SANA news agency quoted the local sources as saying that the US airplanes attacked al-Badiyeh al-Dakheliyeh school, 30km away from Raqqa city, which hosts 50 displaced families from Aleppo, Raqqa and Tadmur.

The airstrikes destroyed the school completely but the number of casualties has not been announced yet.

Meantime, al-Baladi news website affiliated to the dissidents reported that the attacks killed more than 200 civilians and wounded tens of people, many of them in critical conditions.

Also, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that at least 11 civilians have been killed in the airstrikes.

Local sources said that there are no more treatment facilities left in the ISIL-held areas and all bridges and routes have been destroyed, adding that there is no hospital in the Southern parts of Raqqa either.

Also, on Monday, the US-led coalition fighter jets launched another round of air assault on civilian areas in al-Tabaqa region in Western Raqqa, killing at least 18 Syrian people.

According to local activists, the US coalition carried out an airstrike over al-Andalas farms in Western Raqqa, killing at least 18 civilians near the strategic town of al-Tabaqa.

The US army had previously claimed that only 220 civilians were killed in the air attacks of the coalition under its command in Syria and Iraq since 2014.

The US command also noted that it could not investigate all reports of possible civilian casualties using “traditional investigative methods,” which involves interviewing witnesses and examining the site of the strike.

Instead, the coalition interviewed pilots and servicemen that took part in combat missions to draw results. The US command also reviewed strike surveillance videos and analyzed government and non-governmental organizations’ traditional and social media content.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960105000189

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia ranks 7th in travel freedom among Southeast Asian countries

Sun, March 26, 2017

Indonesia ranks 7th in travel freedom among Southeast Asian countries

Currently, the Indonesian passport enables its holders to travel to 57 countries on a free-visa policy. (Shutterstock/File)

Henley & Partners, a firm that studies citizenship and residency visa issues, has announced that Indonesia ranks seventh in travel freedom among countries in Southeast Asia.

The data was announced in the firm’s 2017 visa restriction index, which was created in cooperation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The index measures the number of countries a particular country’s citizens can visit on a free-visa policy.

Currently, the Indonesian passport enables its holders to travel to 57 countries on a free-visa policy.

The rank shows that Indonesia’s travel freedom is lower than that of Timor Leste, which sits in fourth place with access to 83 countries on a free-visa policy.

(Read also: What your passport color really means)

Singapore tops the index with access to 173 countries on a free-visa policy, followed by Malaysia with access to 164 countries.

In addition, Henley & Partners stated that more and more individuals are living and doing business on an international scale.

“Residency visas and dual citizenship are becoming increasingly attractive options,” the firm said in an official statement as quoted by tempo.co.

According to the firm, additional passports could be the solution to unlocking travel potential for citizens from countries with fewer visa waiver agreements.

“This second passport gives a business person access to the global market, which in turn creates opportunities for growth,” the firm said. (mas/asw)

thejakartapost.com/travel/2017/03/26/indonesia-ranks-7th-in-travel-freedom-among-southeast-asian-countries.html

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Africa

Ali al-Haj formally elected leader of Sudan’s Islamist opposition party

Mar 26, 2017

March 25, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The general conference of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Saturday has elected Ali al-Haj as the new secretary general of the opposition Islamist party. Also, the convention endorsed the party’s conditional participation in the expected National Consensus Government.

Al-Haj is the first elected leader after the PCP late founder leader Hassan al-Turabi. He received 890 out of 1000 votes.

In his speech after assuming the post, he pledged to "be patient" with the outcome of the national dialogue and to stick to its recommendations, saying "we will not renounce it and we promise to hold on with all our strength."

"We are not power seekers and we will move forward in the dialogue," he said, referring to the party decision to participate in the next government.

He added there are no political dealings with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to give the party ministerial portfolios in exchange of waiving their demand to ensure freedoms in the country.

The PCP general conference has endorsed a conditional approval to participate in the National Consensus Government agreed by the national dialogue conference.

It was decided to participate in the coalition cabinet only if the NCP-controlled parliament passes a constitutional amendment providing to re-establish political freedoms in the country as it was agreed in the dialogue conference.

The elected leader called on the PCP members to stick to the Party’s unity adding he is also keen to achieve the unity of Islamic movement.

"We will be loyal to the unity of the Islamic movement, the Sudan, loyal to the peace and to stop the war and fighting," he stressed.

sudantribune.com/spip.php?article62008

 

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