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Islamic World News ( 4 March 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Prosecutors: New York Man Willing To Sacrifice Self for Jihad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: In this courtroom drawing, Elvis Redzepagic, left, appears before Magistrate Judge Robert Levy, right, Saturday, March 4, 2017 in New York, during his arraignment on charges that he attempted to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. In the center is federal defender Mildred Whalen. (Elizabeth Williams / AP)

 

Over 1,000 ISIL Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Syrian Army's Palmyra Operation

61 Insurgents Killed During Counter-Terrorism Operations: Afghanistan MoD

PKK Lined With Iran, Syria to Complete Shia Crescent: Peshmerga Commander

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North America

Prosecutors: New York Man Willing To Sacrifice Self for Jihad

US Lawmaker Asks Muslims: ‘Do You Beat Your Wife?’

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Arab World

Over 1,000 ISIL Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Syrian Army's Palmyra Operation

Baghdadi’s Cousin Arrested by Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul

ISIL Fails to Send Reinforcements from Aleppo to Mosul, Loses 150 Members

Pentagon confirms 21 more civilians killed, 2 injured by coalition strikes in Syria & Iraq

17 ISIL Terrorists Killed, 20 Others Wounded in Tough Battle with Yemeni Army in Al-Bayda Province

8 more Al-Qaeda men killed by US in Yemen raids

Wave of IS car bombs targets Iraqi troops in west Mosul

Syrian military plane crashes near Turkish border

Syrian govt seeks united opposition at next Geneva talks

Iraqi Troops Launch Renewed Push on ISIL-Held Areas of Mosul City Center

Syria: Terrorist Groups Using US-Made TOW Missiles in Aleppo Battlefields

Iranian President Stresses Settlement of Syria, Karabakh Issues through Talks

Pakistan Promotes Islamic Banking: WB

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South Asia

61 Insurgents Killed During Counter-Terrorism Operations: Afghanistan MoD

3 Key Taliban Commanders Killed In Kunduz Airstrike

Afghanistan has not and will not recognize Durand Line: Karzai

Bangladesh bans Islamist group blamed for killing LGBT activists

Neighbors should not be concerned of water dams construction: Ghani

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Mideast

PKK Lined With Iran, Syria to Complete Shia Crescent: Peshmerga Commander

15 Executed: Jordan Sends a Message To Terrorists

Jail term of son of Iran’s dissident cleric suspended

Dubai bank Emirates NBD to IPO Islamic REIT fund

Turkey slams US over critical human rights report

Islamic banking assets soar to Rs1.6tr

Palestinian Authority: 85% say they want Sharia law

Turkey Dispatches More Armored Vehicles to Northern Syria to Face Kurdish-Led SDF

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Europe

Muslim Swimmers Allowed To Race Wearing 'Burkinis' In England

Pope Urges Faithful To Consult Bible As Often As Cellphones

Study: Terrorism in UK Trebles in Five Years

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Africa

Islamic Development Bank Sets Out Roadmap To Promote Arab-African Trade

Miyetti: Allah Gives Solution to End Southern Kaduna Killings

Egypt police kill four suspected militants in shootout

Morocco central bank okays five Islamic financial products

Christians, Muslims hold joint prayer session for President Muhammadu Buhari

Libyan Islamist Militia Clings to Oil Port Region, Amid Heavy Airstrikes

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India

Islamic Banking Fails To Open Account in Kerala

Muslim scholars condole death of community's 'last national leader'

Corpse goes missing from Goa Muslim graveyard

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Pakistan

Pakistan Promotes Islamic Banking: WB

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Southeast Asia

King Salman receives Indonesian president, religious leaders

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/prosecutors--new-york-man-willing-to-sacrifice-self-for-jihad/d/110290

 

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Prosecutors: New York Man Willing To Sacrifice Self for Jihad

Elvis Redzepagic, Robert Levy, Mildred Whalen

A New York man was being held without bail on terrorism charges after federal authorities said he was prepared to strap on a bomb and sacrifice himself for jihad and persistently tried to join the Islamic State or another extremist group in Syria.

Elvis Redzepagic, 26, was charged Saturday with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Police on suburban Long Island arrested Redzepagic on Feb. 2 on a minor, unrelated charge, and he told them: "I'm going to leave this country, and I'm going to come back with an Army — Islam is coming," according to a federal court complaint.

His lawyer, Mildred Whalen, noted that Redzepagic is a citizen and had cooperated with law enforcement.

"We will be working with his family in the hope that the court and the government will see that what he needs is counseling and support, not imprisonment," she said in an email.

Authorities have prosecuted a number of people accused of trying to join the Islamic State group and other militants in recent years, though in some cases, the accused haven't actually succeeded in traveling overseas.

Redzepagic "was persistent in his efforts" to join Islamic militants in civil-war-ravaged Syria, making it to Turkey in 2015 and Jordan last year and even getting to the Syrian border, said William F. Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York field office.

Redzepagic, who lives in Commack, told authorities after his arrest that he'd become a devout Muslim while in Montenegro, in the Balkans, and believed a cousin was a battalion commander in Syria for the Islamic State or the group once known as the Nusra Front, according to the court complaint. The latter group — now called the Fatah al-Sham Front, and also known at times as Jabhat al-Nusra — is an al-Qaida affiliate.

No one immediately responded to phone or email messages to Redzepagic's relatives.

After telling his cousin he wanted to join him, Redzepagic went to Turkey in July 2015 and aimed for Syria. He got cab rides to the border, then directions to a border wall manned by the military, followed by instructions to try to cross instead by making a two-day trip through the woods, the complaint says.

He'd been willing to put on a bomb and sacrifice himself, he told authorities after his arrest, though he told them at another point he just wanted to "feed the children" in Syria. But frustrated that he didn't getting more help crossing the border, Redzepagic returned to the U.S., the complaint says.

"Since I got back from Turkey from trying to perform jihad and join Jabhat al-Nusra the CIA has been bothering me," he wrote to a Facebook contact in October 2015, the complaint says. "It's annoying but I out smarted them."

The CIA declined to comment Saturday on the case.

He also told various Facebook contacts that "I just don't like this country," apparently meaning the U.S., and that "jihad is the best for u," according to the complaint.

"There will come a time where people will only know to say Allahu akbar," he wrote in one message, using the Arabic phrase for "God is great," says the complaint.

Redzepagic went to Jordan last August to try again to get to Syria, but Jordanian officials stopped him and asked why he wanted to go there. He said he wanted to study Arabic, the complaint says.

It says he then told the same to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, who found he had electronic files about jihad. He said he'd downloaded them two years earlier, the complaint adds.

It's not immediately clear whether he remained on federal authorities' radar between then and his arrest in February. Long Island police notified federal authorities about the arrest, and although he was released without bail on the minor charge, he willingly continued talking to federal agents and let them scrutinize his phone, laptop and Facebook account, the complaint says.

orlandosentinel.com/news/nationworld/ct-new-york-terrorism-charges-20170304-story.html

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Over 1,000 ISIL Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Syrian Army's Palmyra Operation

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army troops have killed or injured more than 1,000 ISIL terrorists during the military operation to recapture the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) in Eastern Homs, a senior Russian military official said on Saturday.

Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi, the Chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate, said that ISIL lost at least 1,000 of its militants in the Syrian Army troops' operation that ended in the liberation of Palmyra from the terrorists.

The Russian General added that the Syrian forces also destroyed 19 tanks, 37 armored vehicles, 98 pickup trucks with heavy weapons mounted on them and more than 100 automobiles during the operation.

Damascus and Kremlin both declared on Thursday that the Syrian Army, backed by the Russian Air Force, took back the key city of Palmyra from the ISIL terrorist group.

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov stated that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to the commander-in-chief, President Vladimir Putin, that the historic city of Palmyra in Homs province was liberated.

Hours after Moscow declared the liberation of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Homs province, the General Command of the Syrian Army also confirmed the report.

The Syrian army forces broke the ISIL defense lines in Palmyra on Wednesday night and entered the ancient city after liberating the Palmyra Triangle and Castle, cutting off the ISIL supply routes towards the historic city.

According to reports, the ISIL terrorists evacuated most parts of the city on Thursday after planting bombs in its houses and roads.

ISIL kicked off a large-scale operation on December 8 with thousands of forces in Homs province to take control of Palmyra that was liberated by the Syrian Army in March 2016.

The ISIL took control over some energy fields and strategic heights and approached Palmyra.

The terrorist group finally entered the city of Palmyra on December 10, but the Russian and Syrian forces could repel their attacks, killing hundreds of them.

4,000 fighters of the ISIL carried out again a large-scale offensive against government positions in Palmyra from several flanks and finally managed to capture the city on December 11, while only 800 army soldiers were defending the city and there was no possibility for aerial coverage by the Russian and Syrian warplanes due to bad weather.

The Russia's center for Syrian reconciliation noted ISIL had moved considerable forces from their stronghold of Raqqa, while more forces and equipment were relocated from Deir Ezzur.

The center cited intelligence data that ISIL had moved up to 5,000 fighters to the cities of Raqqa and Deir Ezzur from the Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.

The Syrian Army, backed by the Syrian and Russian Aerospace Forces, liberated Palmyra in March, 2016, nearly a year after it was captured by ISIL in May 2015.

During the invasion, terrorists had cruelly destroyed a major portion of the historic sites in the city. UNESCO Chief Irina Bokova had warned that ISIL militants in both Iraq and Syria were responsible for "the most brutal and systematic" destruction of the ancient heritage since World War II.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951214001141

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61 Insurgents Killed During Counter-Terrorism Operations: Afghanistan MoD

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 04 2017

At least 61 insurgents were killed and 33 others were wounded during a series of counter-terrorism operations across the country in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Saturday.

“This joined operation of the Defense Security Forces was held by supporting of the artillery and air forces in Nangarhar, Kapisa , Urozgan , Kandahar , Farah , Zabul , Ghazni , Herat , Takhar , Baghlan and Helmand provinces,” a statement by MoD said.

According to the ministry, 17 were killed in Arghandab district of Zabul and one militant was wounded, while 7 insurgents were killed in Alishing district of Laghman.

“Similarly , as a result of an operation in Balablok district of Farah , and Darqad district of Takhar , 18 insurgents killed , 24 others including 2 commanders wounded ,also , 3 hideouts , 3 motorbikes , 2 PKM Machine guns and  4 AKM machine guns destroyed,” the statement said.

In the meantime, in Talabarfak and Doshi districts of Baghlan, 15 insurgents were killed and 6 others wounded while 4 others were killed and 2 were wounded in Dashte Kabli are of Ghazni province.

“Afghan National Army as nation’s defense force, is ready to give sacrifice to ensure peace and security for people and has strong determination to eliminate terror groups,” MoD added.

khaama.com/61-insurgents-killed-during-counter-terrorism-operations-mod-02327

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PKK lined with Iran, Syria to complete Shia Crescent: Peshmerga Commander

 

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and affiliated armed wings in Shingal receive a salary from Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi forces to complete the Shia Crescent and open a corridor from Iraq to Syria, said the Chief of Staff of Peshmerga Forces Jamal Iminiki on Saturday.

In an interview with Kurdistan24, Iminiki stated the PKK and its armed forces in Sinjar (Shingal) had coordinated with Hashd al-Shaabi forces known as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

According to Iminiki, over 1,000 fighters from the PKK armed-wings, such as the Shingal Resistance Units (YBS), receive salaries from the PMU.

“The stationing of PKK-affiliated groups in the area is under a regional agenda,” Iminiki claimed.

“They are directed and lined by Hashd al-Shaabi, Iran, and Syria to complete the Shia Crescent in the region,” he added.

The Peshmerga Commander mentioned regional countries like Iran and Syria use the PKK and its armed-groups to open a corridor to Syria.

PKK and its armed groups previously stated they represented the local Yezidi (Ezidi) people in Shingal and denied allegations of links with regional countries.

On Friday, clashes erupted between Peshmerga forces and YBS in the Khanasor area located in northwestern Shingal.

The clashes lasted two hours and resulted in casualties for both sides.

Peshmerga and PKK accused each other of initiating the clashes and called for the stopping of intra-Kurdish fighting.

“The deployment of Peshmerga to the Snune and Khanasor areas were to parts of Kurdistan soil,” Iminiki explained. “We haven’t entered another country’s land.”

The Peshmerga Commander added Shingal and surrounding towns were part of the Kurdistan Region, and Peshmerga forces were free to deploy in the areas at any time.

“Neither PKK nor any other forces will be allowed to call themselves the owner of those areas,” Iminiki warned.

The Chief of Staff of Peshmerga forces accused the PKK of spreading baseless propaganda about Kurdish forces deployed in the area to fight them.

“Our main target in the area is to eradicate [the Islamic State] as there are still some parts of Shingal which remain under their control, especially in the south of the city,” Iminiki concluded.

kurdistan24.net/en/news/adeba00d-2143-486d-b533-83b4f61aeaa0/PKK-lined-with-Iran--Syria-to-complete-Shia-Crescent--Peshmerga-Commander

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North America

Prosecutors: New York Man Willing To Sacrifice Self for Jihad

Elvis Redzepagic, Robert Levy, Mildred Whalen

A New York man was being held without bail on terrorism charges after federal authorities said he was prepared to strap on a bomb and sacrifice himself for jihad and persistently tried to join the Islamic State or another extremist group in Syria.

Elvis Redzepagic, 26, was charged Saturday with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Police on suburban Long Island arrested Redzepagic on Feb. 2 on a minor, unrelated charge, and he told them: "I'm going to leave this country, and I'm going to come back with an Army — Islam is coming," according to a federal court complaint.

His lawyer, Mildred Whalen, noted that Redzepagic is a citizen and had cooperated with law enforcement.

"We will be working with his family in the hope that the court and the government will see that what he needs is counseling and support, not imprisonment," she said in an email.

Authorities have prosecuted a number of people accused of trying to join the Islamic State group and other militants in recent years, though in some cases, the accused haven't actually succeeded in traveling overseas.

Redzepagic "was persistent in his efforts" to join Islamic militants in civil-war-ravaged Syria, making it to Turkey in 2015 and Jordan last year and even getting to the Syrian border, said William F. Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York field office.

Redzepagic, who lives in Commack, told authorities after his arrest that he'd become a devout Muslim while in Montenegro, in the Balkans, and believed a cousin was a battalion commander in Syria for the Islamic State or the group once known as the Nusra Front, according to the court complaint. The latter group — now called the Fatah al-Sham Front, and also known at times as Jabhat al-Nusra — is an al-Qaida affiliate.

No one immediately responded to phone or email messages to Redzepagic's relatives.

After telling his cousin he wanted to join him, Redzepagic went to Turkey in July 2015 and aimed for Syria. He got cab rides to the border, then directions to a border wall manned by the military, followed by instructions to try to cross instead by making a two-day trip through the woods, the complaint says.

He'd been willing to put on a bomb and sacrifice himself, he told authorities after his arrest, though he told them at another point he just wanted to "feed the children" in Syria. But frustrated that he didn't getting more help crossing the border, Redzepagic returned to the U.S., the complaint says.

"Since I got back from Turkey from trying to perform jihad and join Jabhat al-Nusra the CIA has been bothering me," he wrote to a Facebook contact in October 2015, the complaint says. "It's annoying but I out smarted them."

The CIA declined to comment Saturday on the case.

He also told various Facebook contacts that "I just don't like this country," apparently meaning the U.S., and that "jihad is the best for u," according to the complaint.

"There will come a time where people will only know to say Allahu akbar," he wrote in one message, using the Arabic phrase for "God is great," says the complaint.

Redzepagic went to Jordan last August to try again to get to Syria, but Jordanian officials stopped him and asked why he wanted to go there. He said he wanted to study Arabic, the complaint says.

It says he then told the same to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, who found he had electronic files about jihad. He said he'd downloaded them two years earlier, the complaint adds.

It's not immediately clear whether he remained on federal authorities' radar between then and his arrest in February. Long Island police notified federal authorities about the arrest, and although he was released without bail on the minor charge, he willingly continued talking to federal agents and let them scrutinize his phone, laptop and Facebook account, the complaint says.

orlandosentinel.com/news/nationworld/ct-new-york-terrorism-charges-20170304-story.html

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US lawmaker asks Muslims: ‘Do you beat your wife?’

JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS | AP | Published — Sunday 5 March 2017

Imad Enchassi, center, leads a group of Muslims gathered at the Oklahoma State Capitol in prayer in Oklahoma City on March 2, 2017. (Jessie Wardarski/Tulsa World via AP)

For Muslim Americans, is the choice between bad and worse?

TULSA, United States: An American lawmaker known for anti-Islam remarks is requiring Muslims to answer several written questions — including, “Do you beat your wife?” — before agreeing to meet with them.

The office of Rep. John Bennett, a Republican from the state of Oklahoma, distributed the questionnaire on Thursday as the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) organized its annual Muslim Day at the Capitol. The lawmaker’s office gave the list of questions to three Islamic school students who came to his office and asked to speak with him.

The questions asked Muslims whether they would denounce terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and whether they believed former Muslims should be punished for leaving Islam. One question asked Muslims if they agreed that Islamic law, known as Sharia, should rule over non-Muslims.

The questionnaire drew a swift rebuke from civil rights groups and Oklahoma’s CAIR chapter, which represents about 40,000 Oklahoma residents who are Muslims.

“Nobody should be vetted with stupid, Islamophobic, hateful, bigoted questions before they can meet with their representative,” said Adam Soltani, the executive director of CAIR-Oklahoma.

Bennett did not return a message seeking comment on the questionnaire Saturday.

The lawmaker has previously referred to Islam as “a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out.” At an interim study Bennett convened in October to study the religion, he suggested that CAIR and a local imam were terrorists.

Recently, Bennett came under fire when he posted a news story on Facebook critical of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and added the comment, “2 words ... firing squad.”

“It’s frustrating that Representative Bennett keeps pressing the issue in the way he does,” said Anna Facci, the government affairs director for CAIR-OK. “It certainly is frustrating but it’s not surprising.”

arabnews.com/node/1063451/world

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Arab World

Over 1,000 ISIL Terrorists Killed, Wounded in Syrian Army's Palmyra Operation

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army troops have killed or injured more than 1,000 ISIL terrorists during the military operation to recapture the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) in Eastern Homs, a senior Russian military official said on Saturday.

Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi, the Chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate, said that ISIL lost at least 1,000 of its militants in the Syrian Army troops' operation that ended in the liberation of Palmyra from the terrorists.

The Russian General added that the Syrian forces also destroyed 19 tanks, 37 armored vehicles, 98 pickup trucks with heavy weapons mounted on them and more than 100 automobiles during the operation.

Damascus and Kremlin both declared on Thursday that the Syrian Army, backed by the Russian Air Force, took back the key city of Palmyra from the ISIL terrorist group.

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov stated that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to the commander-in-chief, President Vladimir Putin, that the historic city of Palmyra in Homs province was liberated.

Hours after Moscow declared the liberation of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Homs province, the General Command of the Syrian Army also confirmed the report.

The Syrian army forces broke the ISIL defense lines in Palmyra on Wednesday night and entered the ancient city after liberating the Palmyra Triangle and Castle, cutting off the ISIL supply routes towards the historic city.

According to reports, the ISIL terrorists evacuated most parts of the city on Thursday after planting bombs in its houses and roads.

ISIL kicked off a large-scale operation on December 8 with thousands of forces in Homs province to take control of Palmyra that was liberated by the Syrian Army in March 2016.

The ISIL took control over some energy fields and strategic heights and approached Palmyra.

The terrorist group finally entered the city of Palmyra on December 10, but the Russian and Syrian forces could repel their attacks, killing hundreds of them.

4,000 fighters of the ISIL carried out again a large-scale offensive against government positions in Palmyra from several flanks and finally managed to capture the city on December 11, while only 800 army soldiers were defending the city and there was no possibility for aerial coverage by the Russian and Syrian warplanes due to bad weather.

The Russia's center for Syrian reconciliation noted ISIL had moved considerable forces from their stronghold of Raqqa, while more forces and equipment were relocated from Deir Ezzur.

The center cited intelligence data that ISIL had moved up to 5,000 fighters to the cities of Raqqa and Deir Ezzur from the Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.

The Syrian Army, backed by the Syrian and Russian Aerospace Forces, liberated Palmyra in March, 2016, nearly a year after it was captured by ISIL in May 2015.

During the invasion, terrorists had cruelly destroyed a major portion of the historic sites in the city. UNESCO Chief Irina Bokova had warned that ISIL militants in both Iraq and Syria were responsible for "the most brutal and systematic" destruction of the ancient heritage since World War II.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951214001141

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Baghdadi’s Cousin Arrested by Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul

 

TEHRAN (FNA) - A video surfaced on Sunday that allegedly shows the arrest of ISIL terror group ringleader's cousin in the city of Mosul, where Iraqi government forces are keeping on with their push to drive out ISIL militants from the city.

Social media outlets circulated a video showing Iraqi police forces walking a handcuffed militant whom they claimed to be the cousin of ISIL’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Iraqi News reported.

The officers did not mention the militants’ exact name. Baghdadi’s exact location and survival have been subject to clashing, unconfirmed reports since operations to free the city sat out.

A local war media outlet, Alkhozaee Media, also confirmed that the member of ISIL terror group has been arrested in Western Mosul.

Meanwhile, the chief of the Joint Operations Command’s operations in Nineveh, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, said in a statement that Federal Police and Rapid Response forces invaded the districts of Dindan and Dawasah, in the Easternmost area of Western Mosul, while the Counter-Terrorism Force invaded al-Sumoud and Tal al-Rumman in the Westernmost area.

Iraqi forces recaptured Eastern Mosul in January, ending three months of fighting to retake the city which fell to ISIL militants in 2014. A new offensive began in mid February to retake the Western region, with Iraqi generals  reporting faster collapses and weaker resistance on IS behalf.

Western Mosul is smaller in space from the Eastern side, albeit denser in population and residential areas, with officials predicting to retake that area within six months.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951215001347

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ISIL Fails to Send Reinforcements from Aleppo to Mosul, Loses 150 Members

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- An attempt by the ISIL terrorist group to dispatch reinforcement forces from Aleppo to Mosul failed after a tough battle with Iraqi popular forces that ended in heavy casualties for the terrorists.

Karim al-Nouri, a commander of Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces), was quoted by al-Ma'louma news website as saying that the ISIL was attempting to send two battalions of al-Farouq and al-Fatah from Aleppo province in Syria towards Tal Afar and al-Ba'jaj in Northwestern Iraq, but failed after facing the Hashd al-Shaabi forces' rapid reaction.

"These terrorists attacked the Hashd al-Shaabi's positions several times but the Iraqi forces could kill 150 of them and destroy tens of their vehicles and personnel carriers," he added.

In relevant remarks on Saturday, Iraqi Popular Forces Spokesman Ahmad al-Assadi voiced Hashd al-Shaabi's readiness to start fresh military operations to seize back all regions to the West of the city of Mosul in Nineveh province.

"As the grounds have been prepared for regaining control of Tal Afar we (Hashd al-Shaabi) are waiting for Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to determine which military units will take part in the operations in Western Mosul," Al-Assadi told FNA in Baghdad.

He reiterated that the first phase of the Iraqi volunteer forces' operations in regions to the West of Mosul ended after seizing back 113 square kilometers of territories and taking back tens of villages as well as cutting the terrorists' supply routes.  

"The Hashd al-Shaabi with all its units and groups has taken all the measures for starting the second part of the sixth phase of military operations to liberate the territories to the West of Mosul which includes the strategic Tal Afarf region," al-Assadi added.

He pointed to Hashd al-Shaabi's support for other military forces participating in the Mosul liberation operations, and said, "The Iraqi volunteer forces will continue their support for the Iraqi Federal Police and counterterrorism units in a bid to pave the way for seizing back the remaining regions in Western Mosul."

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951215000780

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Pentagon confirms 21 more civilians killed, 2 injured by coalition strikes in Syria & Iraq

Published time: 5 Mar, 2017

American coalition warplanes killed 21 civilians in 9 separate strikes in Iraq and Syria, the US Central Command has confirmed following the latest round of investigations, which brings the officially acknowledged casualty total to 220 since 2014.

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Iraq carnage, Syria unrest

In January, the Combined Joint Task Force received 27 new reports of civilian casualties in US-led coalition strikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). At the same time, it completed reviews on 19 reports, ten of which were assessed and dismissed as “non-credible.”

“Nine reports were assessed to be credible resulting in the unintended death of 21 and injury to two civilians,” CENTCOM said. A further 19 reports, some of which have been carried over from previous months, are still open and being assessed.

The new casualty figures released by CENTCOM on Saturday bring the official civilian death toll of the US-led campaign, which began under the Barack Obama administration in 2014, to 220 people.

“Although the Coalition takes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimizes the risk of civilian casualties, in some incidents casualties are unavoidable,” the statement said.

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.

The US army declared estimates of 220 casualties fall far below the number voiced by some monitoring groups. The Airwars monitoring group, reckons that at least 2,463 civilians have been killed by coalition air strikes, according to Reuters.

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US-led coalition admits killing at least 188 civilians in Syria & Iraq on.rt.com/7zfl

5:15 AM - 3 Jan 2017

Photo published for US-led coalition admits killing at least 188 civilians in Syria & Iraq — RT News

US-led coalition admits killing at least 188 civilians in Syria & Iraq — RT News

The US-led coalition has admitted to “unintentionally” killing at least 188 civilians in Syria and Iraq since 2014 when the airstrikes against Islamic State began. The majority of civilian casualty...

rt.com

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Amnesty International’s figures - which last year claimed that at least 300 civilians were killed in just 11 airstrikes conducted by the US-led coalition in Syria alone - sharply contradicts Washington’s assessment as well.

“We fear the US-led coalition is significantly underestimating the harm caused to civilians in its operations in Syria,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office, at the time.

Last month, a Military Times investigation revealed that the US Central Command has also been misleading the public when it failed to account for nearly 6,000 strikes dating back to 2014, when the US-led coalition launched its first airstrikes against IS terrorist targets.

rt.com/usa/379472-syria-iraq-civilian-casualties-centcom/

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17 ISIL Terrorists Killed, 20 Others Wounded in Tough Battle with Yemeni Army in Al-Bayda Province

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Yemeni army and popular forces continued their advances in the Central part of Yemen, killing and injuring tens of ISIL terrorists in fierce clashes in al-Bayda province.

"At least 17 ISIL terrorists have been killed and 20 others have been wounded in tough battle with the Yemeni forces in al-Bayda province," the Arabic-language media outlets quoted informed security sources as saying on Sunday.

The sources noted that Yemeni army and popular forces killed the 17 ISIL terrorists in Homeh al-Hasm, Leqah, al-Ashash and al-Jamri villages located in al-Qoreishiyeh region.

In a relevant development on Saturday, the Yemeni army and popular forces' artillery units targeted the positions of the Saudi-backed militants in Midi and al-Jawf regions.

The Riyadh-hired mercenaries sustained heavy losses in the Yemeni forces' artillery attacks on their military positions in Wadi Harab region of Al-Jawf province.

Meantime, the Yemeni army and popular forces' artillery units also struck the positions of the Saudi-backed militias in the Northern part of Midi desert.

Also on Wednesday, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed Saudi Arabia's strategic military base with a Zalzal-2 missile in Najran province in the Southwestern part of the kingdom.

The military positions of the Saudi army in Rajla military base in Najran province were destroyed in Yemen's missile and rocket attacks.

The Yemeni army also fired several Katyusha rockets at Rajla military base.

A video released by the Yemeni army shows the moment the Zalzal-2 missile hits Rajla military base.

Also on Monday, the Yemeni army and popular forces' missiles and artillery shells hit the strategic military bases of the Saudi troops in Najran and Jizan provinces in the Southern part of the kingdom, destroying a number of them.

Saudi Arabia's al-Shabakeh and al-Fawaz military bases were destroyed in the Yemeni forces' offensives.

Meantime, the Yemeni army and popular forces also hit al-Jabaneh, al-Sudanieh and al-Beit al-Abyaz military bases in Jizan province, inflicting heavy losses on the Saudi army troops.

Meantime, a Saudi border guard was also killed in al-Hanjar military base in Assir province in the Southern part of Saudi Arabia.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951215000808

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8 more Al-Qaeda men killed by US in Yemen raids

AFP | Published — Saturday 4 March 2017

Yemeni soldiers stand guard in the capital Sanaa, in this April 20, 2014 file photo. (AFP)

Yemen president in Riyadh for talks on reconstruction, military effort

ADEN: US warplanes pounded Al-Qaeda targets in Yemen for a second straight day Friday, killing eight militants, security and tribal sources said as Washington boosts its air war against the terrorists.

A defense official in Washington told AFP that American forces conducted “about 10” strikes in Yemen on Friday.

The attacks hit similar targets as on Thursday — weapons caches, fighters and military equipment, the official said.

Residents said US soldiers fought two separate gunbattles overnight with Al-Qaeda militants, supported by heavy aerial bombardment.

Troops descended on the Wadi Yashbum village in the southern Shabwah province and engaged suspected Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants for nearly half an hour, the residents said.

One of the targets in the raid, shortly after midnight, was the home of Saad Atef, an Al-Qaeda leader in the area. The assault included about 10 to 15 airstrikes, some of which hit civilian homes, and a number of civilians were among the wounded, residents said.

About three hours later, residents in the Jabal Mugan area of neighboring Abyan province reported airstrikes and gunbattles between suspected Al-Qaeda fighters and US soldiers that also lasted about half an hour.

Security officials in the area said eight militants were killed, and tribal sources said that women and children were wounded.

Terrorists retaliated with anti-aircraft fire, security officials and tribal sources said, adding that US helicopters also took part in the operation. One resident said it had been a “terrifying night.”

However, a US official denied reports that American forces had been engaged in ground combat or conducting raids.

“I know there have been reports of firefights, raids, there have not been any that US forces have been involved in — not since the one you know about,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told a news briefing, adding that since Thursday there had been about 30 US strikes in total against the group.

A senior Yemeni official described the strikes as “open-ended” and said they raised questions about the objectives of such an operation.

arabnews.com/node/1062961/middle-east

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Wave of IS car bombs targets Iraqi troops in west Mosul

AP | Updated: Mar 5, 2017

BAGHDAD: Iraqi troops encountered the 'heaviest' clashes yet with Islamic State group fighters Sunday in western Mosul since the start of the new push more than two weeks ago, according to a senior commander.

Maj. Gen. Haider al-Maturi of the Federal Police Commandos Division told The Associated Press that IS militants dispatched at least six suicide car bombs, which were all destroyed before reaching the troops. The militants, he said, are moving from house to house and deploying snipers.

The wave of heavy resistance comes as Iraqi forces launched attacks against IS-held neighborhoods in western Mosul from three points Sunday morning. The Federal Police are closing in on the city's main government complex in the Dawasa neighborhood and Iraq's special forces are attempting to push into the Shuhada and Mansour neighborhoods.

IS fighters have 'some mortar (teams) and snipers positioned inside homes,' said Iraqi special forces Maj. Ali Talib, explaining that US-led coalition airstrikes have helped destroy some of the IS defenses, but clashes are still ongoing.

Al-Maturi, of the federal police, said his troops are now some 500 meters away from the government complex.

The push on Mosul's west was launched about two weeks ago after the eastern half of the city was declared ``fully liberated'' in January. The operation to retake Mosul officially began in October after more than two years of slowly clawing back territory from IS militants. IS overran nearly a third of Iraq _ including Mosul the country's second largest city- in the summer of 2014.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/wave-of-is-car-bombs-targets-iraqi-troops-in-west-mosul/articleshow/57478137.cms

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Syrian military plane crashes near Turkish border

 

A Syrian military plane crashed in Turkey on Saturday near the country's border with Syria, the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu said.

The plane crashed in the Turkish province of Hatay, it said, quoting provincial governor Erdal Ata as saying police and medical teams were at the site.

“The plane's cockpit was empty. We believe that the pilots parachuted out,” Ata said, adding that a search for them was underway.

A Syrian military source quoted by state television said “contact was lost with a military aircraft on a reconnaissance mission near the Turkish border.”

The Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham told AFP that it had shot down a government plane “as it was overflying Idlib province (in northwestern Syria) and carrying out air strikes.”

A monitor of the conflict, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that a plane “which probably belongs to the Syrian regime crashed in Idlib province.

The status of the pilot is unknown and there are contradictory reasons for the cause of the crash.”

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, quoted by Anadolu, said earlier that the cause of the crash was unknown, but he pointed to poor weather conditions at the time.

Inhabitants of the Turkish border village of Samandag said they heard a loud noise at around 6:30 pm (1530 GMT) and alerted the police, the Dogan news agency said.

dawn.com/news/1318588/syrian-military-plane-crashes-near-turkish-border

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Syrian govt seeks united opposition at next Geneva talks

 

GENEVA: Syria’s chief negotiator said on Saturday that the “only thing” achieved at 10-day talks in Geneva was an agreed agenda and that the government wanted a unified opposition delegation as its negotiating partner.

In his first remarks since talks ended on Friday, Syria’s ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja’afari said the agenda agreed through UN mediator Staffan de Mistura gave equal weight to four subjects, including the government’s own priority of fighting terrorism.

“Nothing has been adopted so far, there is nothing final at all except for the agreement on an agenda. This is the only final thing that we achieved in this round,” Ja’afari told reporters in Geneva.

Damascus sought a unified Syrian opposition, “not a Saudi partner nor a Qatari, Turkish or French partner”.

“What is asked is to have a partner,” he said.

The main Syrian opposition at the talks is the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) but there are also two smaller dissident groups which have no military muscle but enjoy Moscow’s blessing as opposition voices.

Ja’afari said a “first condition” was to have a Syrian national opposition that did not seek help from Israel nor Turkey, and “does not work according to Qatari, Saudi, Jordanian, Israeli intelligence agendas”.

The second condition was to have a unified opposition that agreed on a common agenda, he said. Ja’afari said the government was studying whether to return for the next round of Geneva talks later in March.

De Mistura says he plans to continue separate talks with the two sides on substantive issues after reporting to the UN Security Council next week.Reuters

dawn.com/news/1318575/syrian-govt-seeks-united-opposition-at-next-geneva-talks

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Iraqi Troops Launch Renewed Push on ISIL-Held Areas of Mosul City Center

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi troops launched a renewed push towards the Mosul city center, which has been held by ISIL militants.

Iraqi forces are advancing from the South and the Southwest towards the old center of the city, Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the joint operations command, told state-run television, RT reported.

Rasool added that Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service units have pushed through the Tal al-Ruman and the Somood districts in the Southwest.

Soldiers from the rapid response team are also progressing through the Dawasa and Danadan districts, a few hundred meters from government buildings in the besieged city, a media officer with these interior ministry units told Reuters.

These buildings are reportedly destroyed and are not used by ISIL militants. However, taking this part of the city would help the Iraqi forces to advance and to restore control over the city.

The Iraqi operation, backed by the US, to retake Mosul, which has been held by ISIL since June 2014, was launched back in October 2016. In January 2017, Iraqi forces captured the Eastern side of the city and set the goal of liberating its Western part.

In February, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced a new phase of the operation. Later, the forces retook Mosul’s airport from ISIL and stormed a military base in a bid to enter West Mosul.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951215001357

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Syria: Terrorist Groups Using US-Made TOW Missiles in Aleppo Battlefields

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Images released by the newly-formed Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board) showed that US-made state-of-the-art anti-tank TOW missiles have been used by terrorists in the war against the Syrian Army in Western Aleppo.

Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at released several images of continued missile attacks of Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front) on Syrian army positions in Western Aleppo, proving that the Al-Nusra that is the backbone of Tahrir al-Sham Haya'at has been targeting government force's position by US-made anti-tank TOW missiles.

Experts studying the military operations in terrorist-held regions said Tahris al-Sham Hay'at has likely gained access to the TOW missiles after the Al-Nusra seized control over the arms depots of rival terrorists of Jeish al-Mojahedin in Western Aleppo.

Other experts meantime believe that the TOW missiles were part of the ammunition under the control of Nouralddeen al-Zinki Movement that has recently joined Tahrir al-Sham Hay'ayt.

Al-Zinki Movement had previously been using TOW missiles in its operations.

A commander of Al-Nusra disclosed in September that the United States provided the terror group with TOW anti-tank missiles, which they used against Syrian army and other targets in the war-hit country.

According the field commander, nom de guerre Abu Al Ezz, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States provided the militant group with military advisers and experts in usage of satellites and rockets, reconnaissance and thermographic cameras, Sputnik reported.

"The United States supports the Syrian militant group, but not directly. They (Americans) support the countries, which support us. However, we are still not satisfied with this support. They should support us with sophisticated weapons," the militant commander demanded.

He also claimed that the militants were winning some battles thanks to TOW missiles and revealed that they have received tanks from Libya via Turkey.

Al Ezz said in an interview with Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper that the Syrian army surpasses them only with the combat aircraft, missiles and missile launchers, claiming that they have taken control over some areas thanks to US TOW missiles, delivered to them directly.

Late in January, Al-Nusra Front and several militant groups declared forming a new coalition under the name of Tahrir Al-Sham Hay'at to narrow down widening rifts amongst their commanders and members.

The Al-Nusra Front, Nouralddeen al-Zinki Movement, Jeish al-Sonah, Jabhat Ansaraldeen and Liwa al-Haq announced that they would act under a united coalition named the Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at.

The five merged terrorist groups act under the command of Abu Jaber Hashem al-Sheikh, who was one of the commanders of Ahrar al-Sham. The new coalition led by al-Sheikh is now fighting against Ahrar al-Sham, a rival terrorist group operating mainly in Northwestern Syria.

Al-Sheikh resigned from his post in Ahrar al-Sham after he was appointed as the commander of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at.

A number of Ahrar al-Sham's commanders, including the groups' spokesman Abu Yusuf al-Mohajer, Hesam Salameh and Abu al-Fatah al-Farqali Mesri also joined the new coalition.

Terrorist groups' websites claimed that Al-Nusra Commander Abu Mohammad al-Joulani will be the top commander of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at.

Ahrar al-Sham rejected its affiliation to the new coalition, but websites close to the terrorist groups have disclosed that Ahrar al-Sham, Faylaq al-Sham, Jeish al-Izzah, Turkistani party and Liwa al-Tamkin will soon start a new front called Tahrir al-Syria Front.

Nusra terrorists have been attacking positions of other terrorist rivals across Northwestern Syria.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951215000989

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Iranian President Stresses Settlement of Syria, Karabakh Issues through Talks

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underscored the need for resolving the crisis in Syria as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Baku and Yerevan through political talks.

"Iran and Azerbaijan enjoy close views on the regional issues," President Rouhani said in a joint press conference with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Tehran on Sunday.

He noted that the final solution to the crisis in Syria is political, but meantime reiterated, "Iran believes that the country's territorial integrity should be respected."

"We are of the same view on Karabakh issue and this problem should be solved through talks," Rouhani said.

He added that both countries also share identical views on the necessity for continued efforts by Iran, Russia and Turkey until finding a final solution to the crisis in Syria.

Elsewhere, Rouhani emphasized remarkable progress in ties between Iran and Azerbaijan in different political, regional, international, economic and cultural fields.

In relevant remarks last year, President Rouhani called for sustainable ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"Regional problems, including Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, should be resolved through peaceful dialogue," President Rouhani said in a meeting with Aliyev in Istanbul.

The Iranian president reiterated that efforts should be made to establish sustainable ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Azeri president, for his part, referred to friendly ties between Iran and Azerbaijan, and called for the implementation of bilateral agreements.

"Iran is one of the best allies of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the prospect of Tehran-Baku ties is brilliant," he said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on a bilateral ceasefire along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh, which came into force last April.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951215001064

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South Asia

61 Insurgents Killed During Counter-Terrorism Operations: Afghanistan MoD

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Mar 04 2017

At least 61 insurgents were killed and 33 others were wounded during a series of counter-terrorism operations across the country in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Saturday.

“This joined operation of the Defense Security Forces was held by supporting of the artillery and air forces in Nangarhar, Kapisa , Urozgan , Kandahar , Farah , Zabul , Ghazni , Herat , Takhar , Baghlan and Helmand provinces,” a statement by MoD said.

According to the ministry, 17 were killed in Arghandab district of Zabul and one militant was wounded, while 7 insurgents were killed in Alishing district of Laghman.

“Similarly , as a result of an operation in Balablok district of Farah , and Darqad district of Takhar , 18 insurgents killed , 24 others including 2 commanders wounded ,also , 3 hideouts , 3 motorbikes , 2 PKM Machine guns and  4 AKM machine guns destroyed,” the statement said.

In the meantime, in Talabarfak and Doshi districts of Baghlan, 15 insurgents were killed and 6 others wounded while 4 others were killed and 2 were wounded in Dashte Kabli are of Ghazni province.

“Afghan National Army as nation’s defense force, is ready to give sacrifice to ensure peace and security for people and has strong determination to eliminate terror groups,” MoD added.

khaama.com/61-insurgents-killed-during-counter-terrorism-operations-mod-02327

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3 key Taliban commanders killed in Kunduz airstrike

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Mar 05 2017

At least three commanders of the Taliban group were killed in an airstrike conducted by the Afghan Air Force in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said the airstrike was carried out late on Saturday night in Imam Sahib district.

The statement further added that fifteen Taliban insurgents including three commanders of the group identified as Qari Mazlum, Qari Hejran, and Farooqi were killed in the airstrike.

At least three Taliban insurgents were also wounded in the airstrike, MoI said, adding that five vehicles and some weapons were also destroyed.

The security forces and local residents did not suffer any casualties during the operation, the ministry said.

Kunduz is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents are actively operating in its various districts and often conduct insurgency activities.

This comes as a senior leader of the Taliban group Mullah Abdul Salam was killed in a US forces airstrike in Kunduz few days ago.

Mullah Salam was considered as a key Taliban group figure who had a major role in back to back coordinated attacks on Kunduz city last year

khaama.com/3-key-taliban-commanders-killed-in-kunduz-airstrike-02333

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Afghanistan has not and will not recognize Durand Line: Karzai

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Mar 05 2017

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said Afghanistan will not recognize Durand Line as a formal border between Afghanistan and Pakistan as he reacted towards Pakistan’s move to close the transit and travel routes between the two countries.

“The Govt of Pakistan has no legal authority to dictate terms on the Durand line.while we wish freedom for the people of #FATA from FCR and other repressive measures, we remind the Govt of #Pakistan that #Afghanistan hasn’t and will not recognize the #Durand line.” Karzai said in a Twitter post.

The closure of the routes by Pakistan has resulted into growing tensions between Kabul and Islamabad.

The Pakistani authorities decided to close the routes following a series of attacks last month which led to the death of scores of people while hundreds of others were wounded.

The attacks resulted into escalation of tensions between the officials of the two countries as the top diplomats were summoned both by Islamabad and Kabul regarding the presence of the alleged terrorists sanctuaries on the soils of the two countries.

Islamabad handed over a list of at least 76 terrorists demanding Kabul to take actions against them which they alleged are involved in a series of attacks using the Afghan soil.

However, the Afghan officials are saying that the leadership councils of both the Taliban and Haqqani terrorist network are based in key cities of Pakistan and in response to Islamabad’s list handed over a list of 85 top Taliban and Haqqani terrorist networks leaders along with a list of their sanctuaries.

khaama.com/afghanistan-has-not-and-will-not-recognize-durand-line-karzai-02328

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Bangladesh bans Islamist group blamed for killing LGBT activists

05 March 2017

Bangladesh has banned an Islamist militant group blamed for killing activists campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Muslim majority country, officials said on Sunday.

The Home Ministry issued an order slapping the ban on all activities by Ansar al-Islam, a group that reportedly identifies as an affiliate of al-Qaeda's Indian subcontinent chapter, on public safety grounds.

"The activities of Ansar al-Islam threaten peace and stability in Bangladesh. All activities of this group are banned because they constitute a threat to public order," the notification reads.

The group claimed responsibility for last year's murder of LGBT activist Xulhaz Mannan and his friend in a Dhaka apartment.

According to US monitoring group SITE Intelligence, Ansar al-Islam also claimed credit for the killing of two Bangladeshi bloggers, Niladri Chattopadhyay and Nazim Uddin Samad.

Ansar al-Islam is the seventh militant organization to be banned in Bangladesh, which has a secular constitution, but more than 90 per cent of its population Muslim.  

Six other Islamist militant groups were previously banned in Bangladesh: Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), Harkat ul-Jehad al-Islami Bangladesh (HUJI-B), Hizb ut-Tahrir and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT).

The South Asian country witnessed a wave of attacks claimed by Islamic State and al-Qaeda or their local agents on academics, secularist bloggers, foreign nationals, priests, rights activists and people of minority faiths in 2015 and 2016.

eblnews.com/news/world/bangladesh-bans-islamist-group-blamed-killing-lgbt-activists-61018

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Neighbors should not be concerned of water dams construction: Ghani

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Mar 05 2017

The Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said the neighboring countries of Afghanistan should not be concerned regarding the construction of water dams and networks in the country.

President Ghani made the remarks during the 4th national conference on the development of water resources development in Afghanistan.

He said “Water is for the benefit of our people and the region. Our guidance principle is to stand for our people’s rights.”

“We expect from our neighbors not to be concerned whilst water networks and dams are established but to support these initiatives,” he added.

In other parts of his speech, President Ghani said drought and floods continue to pose threats due to climate change besides the growing violence has affected the efforts for the proper distribution of water.

According to President Ghani, the proper administration of natural resources can help Afghanistan to be a stable country within the next twenty years.

He ruled out financial dependency on foreign aid as a major mistake and insisted that the country should become free of depending to others.

President Ghani further added that the country can become free of poverty if the resources including work force, natural resources, geographic location, water, land, and the available financial resources are utilized properly.

He said more work and efforts are needed for proper administration of water resources which is having a high value and can help in prosperity of the country.

khaama.com/neighbors-should-not-be-concerned-of-water-dams-construction-ghani-02330

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Mideast

PKK lined with Iran, Syria to complete Shia Crescent: Peshmerga Commander

 

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and affiliated armed wings in Shingal receive a salary from Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi forces to complete the Shia Crescent and open a corridor from Iraq to Syria, said the Chief of Staff of Peshmerga Forces Jamal Iminiki on Saturday.

In an interview with Kurdistan24, Iminiki stated the PKK and its armed forces in Sinjar (Shingal) had coordinated with Hashd al-Shaabi forces known as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

According to Iminiki, over 1,000 fighters from the PKK armed-wings, such as the Shingal Resistance Units (YBS), receive salaries from the PMU.

“The stationing of PKK-affiliated groups in the area is under a regional agenda,” Iminiki claimed.

“They are directed and lined by Hashd al-Shaabi, Iran, and Syria to complete the Shia Crescent in the region,” he added.

The Peshmerga Commander mentioned regional countries like Iran and Syria use the PKK and its armed-groups to open a corridor to Syria.

PKK and its armed groups previously stated they represented the local Yezidi (Ezidi) people in Shingal and denied allegations of links with regional countries.

On Friday, clashes erupted between Peshmerga forces and YBS in the Khanasor area located in northwestern Shingal.

The clashes lasted two hours and resulted in casualties for both sides.

Peshmerga and PKK accused each other of initiating the clashes and called for the stopping of intra-Kurdish fighting.

“The deployment of Peshmerga to the Snune and Khanasor areas were to parts of Kurdistan soil,” Iminiki explained. “We haven’t entered another country’s land.”

The Peshmerga Commander added Shingal and surrounding towns were part of the Kurdistan Region, and Peshmerga forces were free to deploy in the areas at any time.

“Neither PKK nor any other forces will be allowed to call themselves the owner of those areas,” Iminiki warned.

The Chief of Staff of Peshmerga forces accused the PKK of spreading baseless propaganda about Kurdish forces deployed in the area to fight them.

“Our main target in the area is to eradicate [the Islamic State] as there are still some parts of Shingal which remain under their control, especially in the south of the city,” Iminiki concluded.

kurdistan24.net/en/news/adeba00d-2143-486d-b533-83b4f61aeaa0/PKK-lined-with-Iran--Syria-to-complete-Shia-Crescent--Peshmerga-Commander

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15 executed: Jordan sends a message to terrorists

HANI HAZAIMEH | Published — Saturday 4 March 2017

In this Sept. 28, 2016, file photo, activists and relatives of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, takes a farewell look during his funeral in the town of Al-Fuheis near Amman, Jordan. Hattar’s shooter was executed on Saturday, along with 14 other criminals. (AP file photo)

Demonstrators rally in the town of Fuheis near Amman on September 25, 2016, to denounce the killing of prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar. (AFP file photo)

AMMAN: Jordan on Saturday executed 15 death-row inmates, including 10 convicted terrorists, officials said.

Five were members of the “Irbid cell,” said Mohammed Al-Momani, information minister and government spokesman.

Others were convicted for other terror attacks including one on the General Intelligence Department (GID) office in Baqa’a, and another on security personnel in Samma.

Those executed also included the killer of writer Nahed Hattar; the person responsible for bombing the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad in 2003; and those involved in a terrorist attack against tourists in Amman’s downtown Roman amphitheater.

The other five death-row inmates executed included a man found guilty of raping and killing his daughter.

Former Information Minister Samih Maaytah told Arab News the executions are meant to send several messages, most notably “to the families of the victims who fell prey to the evil acts committed by the terrorists, and the criminals who tampered with the security of the homeland.”

He added: “It is a clear message that Jordan will not tolerate any attempt to undermine its security and stability, or the safety of its public, under any pretext. The executions send a strong message to those murderers who breached its security.

“The executions are, in the first place, a reflection of the country’s determination to apply the law by all means. Those who were executed had undergone a fair trial, and were given sentences by the court commensurate with the brutal acts they committed, whether they were criminal or terrorist acts ... the country has all the right to punish criminals and take proper action against perpetrators of crimes.”

Maaytah said the executions also send a message that Jordan is serious in tackling grassroots terrorism.

Maaytah did not exclude the possibility of retaliation for the executions by terrorist groups, but said the security agencies are alert and have taken extensive measures to foil any possible attempts to undermine Jordan’s stability.

The executions came almost a year after the incident of March 3, 2016, when the Jordanian intelligence and security services thwarted a Daesh-related terrorist plot in Irbid.

The security operation against the terrorist cell resulted in the death of Maj. Hussein Rashid Al-Zayoud, and the injury of five security forces personnel and two passers-by. Seven terrorists were killed during the operation.

A security source at the time said the GID, due to vigorous and accurate follow-up processes, thwarted a criminal sabotage plot with links to Daesh, which aimed to attack civilian and military targets in Jordan to destabilize national security.

The source had also said the security forces seized in the process guns, ammunition, weapons, explosives and detonators, and arrested 13 individuals involved in the plot.

The Court of Cassation, the highest judicial body in Jordan, ratified on Feb. 6, 2017, a decision issued by the State Security Court that meted out capital punishment to five members of the terrorist cell in Irbid.

The court sentenced three other members of the Irbid cell to 15 years hard labor in prison. Seven others got 10 years, one seven, and four others three years in prison.

The court’s decision was based on charges such as violation of the Prevention of Terrorism Law, including carrying out deadly terrorist acts, and offenses such as being in possession of, manufacturing or using weapons that led to the death of a person.

arabnews.com/node/1062991/middle-east

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Jail term of son of Iran’s dissident cleric suspended

AFP, AP | Published — Sunday 5 March 2017

In this Jan. 30, 2003 file photo, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Iran's most-senior dissident cleric, right, talks to clerics and his son Ahmad, left, after his house arrest was lifted in the city of Qom, 78 miles south of Tehran, Iran. (AP)

TEHRAN: The jailed son of Ayatollah Montazeri, one-time heir to Iran’s former supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini, has been granted a conditional release, a news agency linked to the judiciary said Saturday.

The Saturday report said the six-year prison term of Ahmad Montazeri, son of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, was suspended after approval by the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei following a request by a top cleric.

The report did not identify the cleric who made the request

A court had sentenced Ahmad Montazeri to prison in November for publishing a tape recording of his father that condemns the execution of thousands of prisoners in 1988. He began serving his prison term in February but was soon released.

The late Montazeri, who died in 2009, was an outspoken critic of the country’s ruling establishment.

Mizanonline reported Ahmad Montazeri had agreed not to “take action against the regime,” failing which he would return to prison.

An appeals court ruled that the cleric, whose late father had originally been lined up to replace Khomeini before being sidelined, should serve a six-year term rather than 21 years as ordered by a religious court, Mizanonline reported last month.

He was also convicted of spreading “lies about the founder of the Islamic republic,” Khomeini.

arabnews.com/node/1063296/middle-east

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Dubai bank Emirates NBD to IPO Islamic REIT fund

March 5, 2017

Emirates NBD (ENBD), Dubai’s largest lender, plans to offer shares in its Islamic real estate investment trust and list them on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange.

ENBD REIT said on Sunday it expects to raise about $100 million to $125 million from the offering and plans to use its proceeds to fund acquisitions of real estate assets.

The trust’s current portfolio consists of seven properties in the commercial and residential sector, which are all located in Dubai, it said.

ENBD REIT’s assets have a total valuation of $314 million, with a net leasable area of 872,518 square feet as of Sept. 30 2016.

“This will be only the second real estate investment trust to be listed on a UAE stock exchange, and it is the opinion of ENBD REIT’s directors that the re-domiciliation and listing will allow improved liquidity and greater flexibility for the Fund Manager to manage ENBD REIT,” said Tariq Bin Hendi, Director of ENBD REIT.

“The improved capital structure of ENBD REIT will mean there is less of a requirement to retain cash for the purposes of managing liquidity in the event of investor withdrawals, which are not permitted in a closed-ended vehicle of this type, but were a requirement in the open-ended structure. In the long-term, this should help ENBD REIT to achieve its objective of remaining more fully invested, subject to market and other conditions, with the goal of achieving improved long-term returns for its shareholders,” said Anthony Taylor, Fund Manager, Real Estate at Emirates NBD Asset Management Limited.

(With inputs from Reuters)

ameinfo.com/construction-real-estate/commercial/dubai-bank-emirates-nbd-ipo-islamic-reit-fund/

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Turkey slams US over critical human rights report

March/05/2017

Turkey has lashed out at the United States for criticizing measures taken in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt in its annual human rights report, describing these criticisms as “unacceptable allegations, misrepresentations and interpretations that do not reflect reality.”

“The parts of the latest report regarding Turkey, released on March 3, 2017, comprise unacceptable allegations, misrepresentations and interpretations that do not reflect reality. In this period, when we are faced with unprecedented threats of terrorism against the survival of our nation and state, misrepresentation of our legitimate struggle against terrorist organizations, in particular FETÖ [the Fethullahist Terror Organization], the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], the DHKP-C [Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front] and DAESH [an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], in a way that does not reflect realities, has caused deep disappointment,” read the statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in response to a 75-page U.S. Department of State report.

“Inconsistent access to due process,” “government interference with freedom of expression,” and “inadequate protection of civilians,” especially in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt, were among the significant human rights problems observed in 2016.

“It is denotative that the report makes no reference to the role of FETÖ elements in the July 15 coup attempt, or the fact that the FETÖ leadership lives in the U.S. Also, the description of our fight against the PKK terrorist organization as an ‘internal conflict’ is totally unacceptable,” the ministry stated.

“It is clear that this report, which ignores information and opinions provided by our authorities within the understanding of constructive cooperation, fails to claim any basis in terms of objectivity,” it added.

Significant human rights problems

The U.S. State Department report listed important shortcomings in human rights in Turkey as follows:

Inconsistent access to due process: Following the July 15 coup attempt, the government on July 20 declared a three-month state of emergency, which was renewed in October, that allowed suspension of some due process protections for those accused of ties to terrorist groups. The government ascribed responsibility for the attempt to the Fethullah Gülen movement, which it defined as a terrorist organization.

Little clarity on charges: Courts imprisoned tens of thousands of persons accused of supporting the coup or terrorist groups, in many cases with little clarity on the charges and evidence against them. Government decrees issued under the state of emergency restricted suspects’ access to legal assistance, allowed suspects to be held without charge for up to a month, and in some cases froze the assets of suspended or fired civil servants or their family members. Human rights groups documented some cases in which family members were held or subjected to restrictions on their freedom of movement in lieu of suspects who remained at large. The government suspended and dismissed tens of thousands of civil servants, who generally had little access to legal recourse or appeal, and closed thousands of businesses, schools, and associations.

Media freedom under pressure

Government interference with freedom of expression: The government restricted freedom of expression, media, and the Internet, intensifying pressure on the media following the failed coup attempt. Authorities arrested at least 140 journalists, most accused of affiliation with the Gülen movement or connections with the PKK. The government also exerted pressure on media, closing media outlets and publishing associations; conducting raids on media companies; confiscating publications with allegedly objectionable material; instigating criminal investigations of journalists and editors for alleged support of terrorist groups; banning books; instigating gag orders on terrorism-related stories; and blocking internet sites. Self-censorship was widespread amid fear that criticizing the government could prompt reprisals. The closure of nearly all Kurdish-language media outlets reduced vulnerable populations’ access to information and alternative viewpoints. The government impeded access by international media and observers to conflict areas, limiting independent reporting about conditions.

Inadequate protection of civilians: In fighting the terrorist PKK, government security forces failed to take sufficient measures to protect civilians. Hundreds of thousands of residents of the Southeast were forced to flee their homes and most remained internally displaced at year’s end. Upwards of 200 civilians were killed in the fighting. Human rights groups reported that security forces killed and injured persons who attempted to cross illegally from Syria into Turkey and documented reports of torture and abuse of prisoners following the coup attempt.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-slams-us-over-critical-human-rights-report-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=110460&NewsCatID=510

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Islamic banking assets soar to Rs1.6tr

March 5th, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Assets of the Islamic banking industry grew 91 per cent to Rs1.6 trillion in 2016 from Rs837 billion in 2012.

Accounting for 11.7 per cent of the total banking sector, the Islamic banking assets in the non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) witnessed even stronger growth during the last fours years.

Two reasons that help explain this growth are demand from customers and enabling regulations by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Usman Hayat, head of the SECP’s Islamic Finance Depart­ment, observed.

Addressing a seminar on Saturday, Mr Hayat said that developing an Islamic capital market is a priority of the regulator, while there is a strong demand from the depositors too.

Two consultation sessions were held by the corporate sector regulator with market participants to facilitate issuance of sukuk (Islamic bonds) and the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).

The participants were informed that the SECP was analysing the industry proposals and it will consider making appropriate amendments to the relevant regulations, further reducing the cost and hassle for both issuers and investors.

The industry proposals pertaining to tax issues regarding sukuk and REIT are being referred to the FBR.

dawn.com/news/1318469/islamic-banking-assets-soar-to-rs16tr

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Palestinian Authority: 85% say they want Sharia law

The pro-Sharia majority is divided: half want Sharia in conjunction with civil law, half say, 'Only Sharia.'

Contact Editor Hillel Fendel, 05/03/17 00:13

Only a quarter of Gaza residents blame Israel for the electricity crisis from which they suffer. This, according to a poll carried out last month by the Ramallah- and Jerusalem-based Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC).

JMCC was established in 1988 by an Arab group of journalists and researchers in areas of Judea and Samaria now under Palestinian Authority control.

In its most recent poll, cited above, 1199 PA residents people over the age of 18, randomly selected, were interviewed face-to-face The interviews were conducted in randomly selected homes in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria, and the margin of error is +/-3 percent.

Over 85% (!) said that the Palestinian Personal Status Law must be based on the principles of Islamic Sharia. Half of these said it must be exclusively Sharia, while the other half said it should be based both on Sharia and civil law. Only 14.7% said it should be based only on civil law.

Another question was: "Who is more responsible for the aggravation of the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip?" Of the 449 respondents who live in Gaza, nearly half (49.4%) said, "the Hamas government in Gaza," and 21.2% blamed the Palestinian National Authority; Only 25.8% of the Gaza residents blamed Israel; this proportion was nearly twice as high among the PA residents living outside Gaza.

Asked if they feel that Mahmoud Abbas "is performing his job as President of the PA: in a good, average or in a bad way," 35.4% said, "bad," while 28.7% said, "good." It should be noted that in January 2005, Abbas was elected to head the PA until Jan. 2009, thus that he is now in the 13th year of his four-year term. He has used the conflict between his Fatah faction and Hamas as an excuse to remain in power, as no elections have been held since he took office. 46.9% of the respondents said they prefer that elections be held even before a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas is achieved.

Asked what is the best method to achieve the goals of "ending the occupation and establishing a [PA] state," 27.1% of those in Judea and Samaria said, "Armed resistance;" this was the choice of 35.6% in Gaza. A total of 37.6% chose "peaceful negotiations."

Three-quarter of the respondents believe "there is corruption" in the PA, while 16.2% said there is none. Nearly 40% said the government collects taxes and other fees from citizens in a fair manner only "to a small extent."

A full 68.9% do not expect Fatah and Hamas to reconciliation in 2017. Nearly 20% blames Hamas for this state of affairs, while 12% blame Fatah and 39.2 blamed both. No information was provided on how the respondents in Gaza as opposed to those in Judea and Samaria responded. 22.9% blamed Israel.

One of the poll questions was: "If negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were to be resumed, who would you prefer to act as mediator between the two sides?" Only 7.6% chose the U.S., while 23.7% chose the European Union. The Mideast Quartet, the United Nations and Egypt were chosen by 16.1%, 14.3% and 18%, respectively.

Asked to choose one word to define themselves, 52.5% of those in Judea and Samaria said, "Palestinian;" this was the choice of 58.1% in Gaza. Only 21.7% said, "Muslim," and 5.3% said "Arab."

israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/226083

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Turkey Dispatches More Armored Vehicles to Northern Syria to Face Kurdish-Led SDF

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish Army sent several armored vehicles to Northern Aleppo this weekend to reinvigorate its forces in their upcoming operation against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after the latter reached an agreement to surrender its territories to the Syrian army.

Several Photos from Manbij region in Northeastern Aleppo emerged on Saturday, showing the Turkish Army transporting several armored vehicles towards their main front-line against the SDF.

This latest move by the Turkish Army comes just 48 hours after their president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, vowed to capture Manbij from the Kurdish forces.

On Saturday, Kurdish fighters of the Manbij Military Council fended off an offensive of the Turkish Army and Ankara-backed militants of the Euphrates Shield Operation West of the town of Manbij in Northeastern Aleppo and managed to seize control over a village in a pursuing counterattack.

The Kurdish combatants of the Manbij Council warded off offensives of the Turkish soldiers and the militants of the Ankara-led Euphrates Shield Operation in the villages of Tal Tourin, Korhiyouk and Olashli, killing at least six forces of the Euphrates Shield and seizing a large volume of arms and ammunition.

The Manbij forces further carried out a rapid counterattack and seized control over Jubb al-Hamir village, some 34km to their Manbij.

The military council of Manbij announced in a statement on Thursday that the Kurdish forces will surrender the villages bordering the areas occupied by the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield Operation militants to the Syrian army.

Then, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday announced that his government has called on the US to evacuate the Kurds from Manbij in Aleppo province immediately, rejecting the agreement between the Kurds and the Damascus government.

Cavusoglu referred to the Euphrates Shield Operation in Northern Syria by the Turkey-backed militants, and told reporters that the Turkish forces have not yet moved towards Manbij but they will start operations in the region soon.

Noting that the Turkish military men are ready to attack the Kurds in Manbij, he said that Ankara doesn’t want Washington to continue support for the Kurds and it has several times warned the US that the Turkish forces will attack the Kurds soon.

Cavusoglu also said that Ankara and Moscow have agreed to prevent clashes between the Syrian government forces and the Turkey-backed opposition (the Free Syrian Army militants), claiming that both of them pursue the same goal of annihilating the ISIL.

Elsewhere, he stood up to an agreement between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Russia to surrender the villages controlled by the Kurds in Manbij to the Syrian government.

His remarks came as the military council of Manbij announced in a statement that the Kurdish forces will surrender the villages bordering the areas occupied by the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield Operation militants to the Syrian army.

The statement said that based on an agreement with the Russian side, the control of these villages will be given to the Syrian government's border guards.

It added that the measure will be taken to maintain the security of civilians residing in Manbij and the surrounding areas as well as regions bordering al-Bab in the Western side of Manbij, and take on the greed of Turkey to occupy the Syrian territories.

The statement was issued after sources in Tal Rifat Town's Military Council affiliated to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) militant group disclosed on Wednesday that the council forces will no more partner in the Euphrates Shield Operations against ISIL in Northeastern Aleppo as they are preparing to shift war to their Kurdish rivals within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield Operations is fought by various units of the SDF and backed up by the Turkish army. The SDF is comprised of a Kurdish majority and a minority of Arab fighters mostly from different units of FSA and defected members of Ahrar al-Sham and Al-Nusra that are all called as moderate militants by the US, Turkey and their allies.

The Kurdish units of the SDF have long been complaining that they are fighting on the frontline and, hence, sustain most casualties, and whenever they earn a victory, "the Turkish army sends them to other battle scenes and delivers control over conquered lands to the Arab FSA.

Cavusoglu's warning that the Turkish military men are readying to attack the Kurds in Manbij came after the militant-affiliated Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on Wednesday reported some sources in Tal Rifat Military Council as saying that the council would stop its mission under the Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield Operation to start battling the Kurdish members of the SDF in Northern Aleppo to capture the villages under their control.

The SOHR further added that the Tal Rifat Military Council that is operating under the FSA is getting back to the region (Northern Aleppo) with its forces and military equipment to start attacking the Kurdish forces in their positions.

In response to the militants' invasion plan, the Syrian army initiated plans to tighten security measures across the regions stretching from East Aleppo to the Kurdish populated territories in Afrin Canton to block any possible advance by either the ISIL or the Turkish soldiers and their allied militants fighting for the Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield Operation.

A top placed military source revealed that the Syrian Army intends to carry out a clean-up operation in the towns of Jubb al-Sultan, al-Za'aroureh, Jubb al-Homam and Jubb al-Khafa and the villages South of Manbij to strengthen its lines of defense along the strip that stretches to the Kurdish-held region in Northeastern Aleppo in order to prevent any effort by the ISIL terrorists to bypass the government-held regions.

Cavusoglu displayed his country's anger and opposition to the agreement between the Kurds and the Syrian army by denying it, claiming that "there are all sorts of news and speculation. This is all untrue. We are now seeing that the Syrian government forces are moving to the East".

But the Turkish foreign minister, meantime, stated that Moscow and Ankara agreed on the prevention of clashes between Turkey-backed opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) and government forces.

"We have agreed with Russia on the prevention of clashes between the [FSA] and the Syrian government forces in order to intensify the fight against ISIL," Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

But later reports by other world media confirmed FNA's Thursday report over the agreement.

The villages will be surrendered to the Syrian government in the coming days, an official in the Manbij Military Council told Reuters. An earlier statement by the council said the villages would be handed to Syrian border guards.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said this week Manbij was the next target of Ankara's campaign in northern Syria following the capture of nearby al-Bab from ISIL last week.

"We will move towards Manbij after the al-Bab operation is completed, but the operation has not started yet. We know that the US special forces are in that region, and we want the YPG to leave Manbij as soon as possible," Cavusoglu said.

In February 2016, The Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) prevailed over the terrorists in the highly strategic city of Tal Rifat in Northern Aleppo and captured the city. YPG constitutes the Kurdish section of the SDF that also includes the Turkey-backed Arab FSA militants.

But months later, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the Kurdish fighters to leave all areas under their control in Northwestern Syria and move to the territories on the Eastern side of the Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates.

The Kurdish population lives in three regions, known as Cantons, in Northern Syria, with the Afrin Canton being located on the Western side of the Euphrates stretching over the Northern parts of Aleppo province with Manbij as its most important and most internationally known town.

The Kurdish fighters won back Manbij from ISIL in weeks of bloody war on August 8, 2016. A few months later, the Turkish president warned the Kurds to withdraw from the town and surrender it to the Turkish army or wait for a massive attack.

In mid-November 2016, Spokesman for the Manbij Military Council Sherfan Dervish voiced his forces' readiness to fight against the ISIL terrorists and Turkish army in Aleppo province in Northern Syria.

"The Manbij military council is ready to repel any possible attack by the ISIL and Turkey," Dervish told FNA at the time.

He noted that the SDF's mission in Manbij ended as per an agreement signed by the two sides, adding that the SDF forces returned to their previous positions.

"The armed groups present in Manbij now are all under the auspices of the Manbij military council because the council can thwart any possible attack by the ISIL and Turkey and combat aggressors to maintain stability and security in the city," Dervish added.

In early August, the SDF pushed ISIL back from the entire neighborhoods of Manbij in Northeastern Aleppo after over 70 days of non-stop bloody clashes with the terrorists.

Also in August, the Military Council of Manbij in Aleppo province announced that over 4,000 terrorists had been killed in tough battle with the SDF since the beginning of Manbij liberation operations.

"A sum of 4,180 terrorists have been killed in the battle over Manbij and the dead bodies of 1,724 of them are with the Kurdish forces," the military council said.

The council said that 112 ISIL terrorists were in custody of the Kurdish forces and 144 different kinds of military vehicles had also been destroyed in Manbij battle.

In late August, a Turkish-backed terrorist ringleader said that his militants intended to head towards Manbij to take the city from the Kurdish forces who could drive out the ISIL in early August.

Colonel Ahmed Osman, the commander of Sultan Murad terrorist group, told the Arabic service of Reuters that the Turkey-backed forces were "certainly heading towards Manbij" since the SDF had fortified their positions instead of evacuating the strategic city.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951215001008

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Europe

Muslim swimmers allowed to race wearing 'burkinis' in England

PTI | Updated: Mar 5, 2017

LONDON: Muslim women swimmers have won the right to race in loose-fitting full body outfits or 'burkinis' while taking part in amateur swimming competitions in England.

On a request from the Muslim Women's Sport Foundation, the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) has relaxed its swimsuit regulations to allow women to wear loose-fitting full body outfits.

Until now, full body suits like those worn by Olympians have been banned, as they help streamline the shape of the body and have performance-enhancing characteristics.

The new guidance, which will only apply to amateur competitions in England, states that competitors will not be allowed to wear any suit that a competition referee believes will increase performance, The Telegraph reported.

Photographs published by the governing body suggested that loose-fitting outfits would be permissible, while specifically excluding body suits similar to those worn by elite competitors.

"Swimmers wishing to swim in such a suit shall present the suit to the event referee for inspection prior to their swim," the guidance states.

"Once the referee has been informed of a swimmer wishing to wear a suit, as described above, there is no requirement for the referee to question the swimmer further, the ASA swimming management group do not want athletes being asked why they wish to wear the suit," it says.

Chris Bostock, chairman of the ASA sport governing board, termed the move as a "very positive step forward" for competitive swimming in England and one that he hoped would encourage many more people to take part.

"We want everyone to be able to reach their potential. Representing your club at a national swimming competition is very special. By changing these rules we hope to encourage a new generation of swimmers," he was quoted as saying.

Rimla Akhtar, from the Muslim Women's Sport Foundation, said, "Participation in sport amongst Muslim women is increasing at a rapid pace. It is imperative that governing bodies adapt and tailor their offerings to suit the changing landscape of sport, including those who access their sport."

"The MWSF is glad to have requested a review of competition laws in relation to full body suits by the ASA and are extremely pleased at the outcome," she said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/more-sports/others/muslim-swimmers-allowed-to-race-wearing-burkinis-in-england/articleshow/57476901.cms

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Pope urges faithful to consult Bible as often as cellphones

AP | Mar 5, 2017

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has called on the faithful to consult the Bible with the same frequency as they might consult their cellphones for messages.

Francis urged a packed St. Peter's Square following his weekly Angelus blessing Sunday to give the Bible the same place in daily life as cellphones, asking: "What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones."

The message was a twist on Francis' frequent use of social media to reach the faithful, including regular messages on Twitter.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/pope-urges-faithful-to-consult-bible-as-often-as-cellphones/articleshow/57478833.cms

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Study: Terrorism in UK Trebles in Five Years

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A major new study revealed terror attacks in the UK have more than tripled in the last five years, local media said.

The shocking report also reveals that terror-related offences have doubled in the last five years, while the rate of beheadings and stabbings has increased eleven-fold, Daily Mirror reported.

London and Birmingham have been identified as housing the most offenders, with East London home to half of London-based offenders, 22 per cent overall, the most common boroughs being Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest.

The study identifies all extremism-inspired terrorism convictions and suicide attacks in the UK between 1998 and 2015.

The 1,000-page report, published by the Hannah Stuart and the Henry Jackson Society, says this type of terrorism remains the principal terrorism threat to both the United Kingdom and British interests overseas.

London was the place of residence at the time of arrest in 43 per cent of terror-related offences.

The second most common region was the West Midlands, with 18 per cent of arrests - 14 per cent of which came from Birmingham. 

The report claims that 'offenders lived in neighbourhoods with both a higher than average relative deprivation and Muslim population.'

According to the society, there were 264 convictions between 1998 and 2015 involving 253 British or foreign nationals.

And the role of women in terrorism has trebled, from four per cent in the years 1998-2010, to 11 per cent in 2011-2015.

Some 72 per cent of those committing offences are British nationals, 47 per cent are in full time work or education and 76 per cent have been known to the authorities.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951215001402

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Africa

Islamic Development Bank sets out roadmap to promote Arab-African trade

Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr. | Published — Sunday 5 March 2017

The Arab-Africa Trade Bridges Program was organized in Rabat recently.

RIYADH: The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is developing a roadmap to strengthen Arab-African trade over the next three years, according to Hakim Elwaer, IDB’s official spokesman.

The roadmap includes identifying business opportunities and the areas of finance, building logistics platform, supporting trade, credit and insurance, and developing the necessary infrastructure to facilitate trade.

IDB President Bandar Hajjar and Mamoun Buhedod, minister delegate to the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy in Morocco, inaugurated the Arab-African Trade Bridges (AATB) forum held in Rabat last month.

IDB’s support for development programs and infrastructure projects in Africa has reached more than $43 billion, which included funding for projects in infrastructure, according to IDB’s website.

Hajar added that the volume of trade financing granted to Arab and African member countries since the establishment of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), which is IDB’s trade financing arm, has reached about $15 billion.

This is in addition to cooperation with many strategic partners to design and implement programs for the development of trade among member countries.

Hajar urged Arab and Sub-Saharan African countries to take advantage of capacity development programs to be available thanks to the “Arab-African Trade Bridges” program over the next three years.

The participants in the forum and side events included trade ministers, directors of trade promotion agencies, presidents of the chambers of commerce and industry representing OIC Arab and Sub-Saharan African member countries as well as international financial institutions and banks.

A number of memorandums of understanding were signed between the main participants during the forum’s inauguration ceremony.

The initiative of the “Trade Bridges between Arab and Sub-Saharan African countries” forum was proposed by the ITFC during the seventh meeting of the Coordination Group to support cooperation in the field of foreign trade and export credit.

Besides ITFC, the Coordination Group includes the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICD), the Arab Trade Financing Program, the Arab Monetary Fund, the OPEC Fund for International Development, the Saudi Fund for Development and the Arab Investment & Export Credit Guarantee Corporation.

arabnews.com/node/1063406/saudi-arabia

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Miyetti: Allah Gives Solution to End Southern Kaduna Killings

MACBAN, Ibrahim Abdullahi, has said that the solution to the lingering crisis in southern part of Kaduna state lies outside Nigeria.

Southern Kaduna has been experiencing violent crisis for years now. The latest spell of violence has claimed hundreds of lives.

Killings have continued deployment of security forces to the area.

The latest killings occurred on February 20 when unknown gunmen invaded communities in two local governments Jema’a and Kauru, killing at least 14 people.

The attacks have largely been blamed on Fulani herdsmen, said to be carrying out reprisal killings following the alleged killing of herdsmen and their livestock in the area during the 2011 post-election violence.

Speaking in Kaduna recently, Mr. Abdullahi said most of the Fulani people involved in the killings were not Nigerians. Similar claim by the state government sparked outrage.

“It has to do with foreign nomads coming into the country. There are three or four international grazing routes, most of which passed through Kaduna state,” he said.

“Two of the routes are from Cameroun down through Lere and Kauru local governments, another one is from Chad Republic that came through southern part of Plateau state down to Zangon-Kataf and there is another one from Niger Republic through Kano/ Katsina down to Kaduna,” he said.

thebreakingtimes.com/miyetti-allah-gives-solution-to-end-southern-kaduna-killings/

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Egypt police kill four suspected militants in shootout

AFP | Published — Saturday 4 March 2017

Militants in the Sinai Peninsula have stepped up attacks on the police and army over the past year. (AFP)

CAIRO: Egyptian police have killed four suspected Islamist militants believed to have been planning a “major attack” in a shootout near Cairo, the interior ministry said.

The “takfiri” cell — an Arabic word for extremists who declare other Muslims disbelievers — had been meeting when police raided their hideout in Giza province, southwest of Cairo, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

“When the terrorist cell sensed the police drawing near they began shooting at them, which prompted the police force to fire back,” the statement said.

The suspects’ affiliation was not immediately clear but police often describe jihadists with links to the Daesh group or Al-Qaeda as “takfiris.”

They were “preparing to execute a major attack in the coming period,” the statement said.

The Daesh group’s Egyptian branch has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in attacks, mostly in the Sinai Peninsula but also in Cairo.

The country has witnessed a deadly insurgency since the military overthrew Islamist president Muhammad Mursi in 2013 and police cracked down on his Muslim Brotherhood movement, killing hundreds of protesters.

arabnews.com/node/1063101/middle-east

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Morocco central bank okays five Islamic financial products

Sunday March 05, 2017

RABAT, March 5 (Reuters) - Morocco's central bank has approved the use of five types of Islamic banking transaction, giving a final regulatory nod for the country to launch an Islamic finance industry.

Islamic banks and insurers are setting up in Morocco after new legislation allowed them into the market, and the central bank has set up a central sharia board, a body of Islamic scholars, to oversee the sector.

The North African country long rejected Islamic banking because of concern about Islamist movements, but its financial markets lack liquidity and foreign investors, and Islamic finance could attract both of those.

In circulars published in the official bulletin over the weekend, Morocco's central bank said any Islamic transaction would be subject to preliminary approval by the sharia board, called the Sharia Committee for Participative Finance.

The central bank said it was allowing five common types of transaction: murabaha, musharaka, ijara, mudaraba and salam. It also set regulations for conventional banks to open windows selling Islamic products.

It had given regulatory approval to three major Moroccan banks to open Islamic subsidiaries: Attijariwafa Bank , BMCE of Africa and Banque Centrale Populaire , as well as to smaller lenders Credit Agricole and Credit Immobilier et Hotelier .

Subsidiaries of Societe Generale of France, Credit du Maroc and BMCI have also won permission to sell Islamic products.

The circulars lay down conditions and regulatory frameworks for banks to manage deposits, funds and investments under sharia principles, which ban interest and pure monetary speculation.

Morocco's government plans to issue its first Islamic bond in the domestic market in the first half of 2017; experts said that would stimulate business in the sector. However, parliament has yet to approve a bill regulating Islamic insurance.

(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki, Writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

kitco.com/news/2017-03-05/Morocco-central-bank-okays-five-Islamic-financial-products.html

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Christians, Muslims hold joint prayer session for President Muhammadu Buhari

Posted By: Breaking Timeson: March 05, 2017

Muslim and Christian faithful in Taraba on Saturday held a special prayer for the speedy recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is on medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that followers of the two religions held the prayers at the Jalingo Eid prayer ground.

Speaking at the occasion, representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Baba Yerima , said praying for the well-being of Buhari was the duty of every “true believer”.

He noted that the President had brought peace and unity to the country, and therefore urged the gathering to pray for leaders at all times.

Ustaz Ali Babando , a Muslim cleric, said the President had been doing his best in tackling the country’s socio-economic challenges.

He noted that it was in the interest of Nigerians to keep praying for  Buhari, to enable him return home to consolidate on the fight against terror and corruption.

Alhaji Sani Tullu, Secretary, Taraba Chapter, Buhari Support Organisation(BSO), said the BSO had organised  prayer and rally in honour of the President whom he described as a visionary leader.

“We salute the giant strides and landmark achievement of  Buhari’s administration in his efforts to reposition the country.

“We are particularly impressed with the performance of the administration in anti-corruption fight, decimating insurgents, revitalizing Agriculture, Education and Health sectors,” he said.

thebreakingtimes.com/christians-muslims-hold-joint-prayer-session-for-president-muhammadu-buhari/

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Libyan Islamist Militia Clings to Oil Port Region, Amid Heavy Airstrikes

March 04, 2017

CAIRO — Forces loyal to Libya’s top eastern military commander, General Khalifa Haftar, say they have pounded Islamist militia fighters who captured the key oil ports in the country. Haftar’s forces had controlled the Libya’s “oil triangle” district since September of last year.

Libyan media reports that air force fighter jets loyal to General Haftar attacked Islamist militia forces holding part of the oil port of Sidra and an airfield in the nearby oil port of Ras Lanouf. Haftar’s spokesman, Colonel Ahmed al-Mismary described the fighting to journalists.

He said that airstrikes are continuing and that his forces have begun a counterattack against the Islamist militia holding the area and recaptured part of the Ras Lanouf airfield, while reinforcing the area around Ras Lanouf with fighters from the east of the country. He said the goal was to crush the militia, so that it won’t return to the area.

Militia forces, calling themselves the “Benghazi Defense Brigades,” began the surprise attack on Sidra and Ras Lanouf on Thursday. A militia spokesman, Yasser Jebali, claimed his men were holding their ground.

He said there was heavy fighting in the area and that 50 or 60 armored personnel carriers loyal to General Haftar tried to encircle his forces, but failed.

The militia attack coincided with a visit to Moscow by Libya’s internationally-backed “national unity” government Prime Minister Fayez el-Seraj. Seraj, whose government still has not been approved by the country’s parliament in Tobruk, said his forces were not responsible for the attack.

Seraj also insisted that both General Haftar and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh were blocking mediation efforts by Egypt to hold a face-to-face meeting between himself and the general.

Qatar-based Libya al-Ahrar TV, which backs Islamist militias in Tripoli and Misrata, claimed that the “Benghazi Defense Brigades” were made up of fighters from Benghazi, which is now under Haftar’s control. It claimed that Haftar was using mercenaries from Chad, a charge which his spokesman denied.

The “Benghazi Defense Brigades” were reported to have captured the Libyan desert oil oasis of Jaffra in December. It was not clear who was supporting the group, but former U.N. special envoy for Libya Tarek Mitri said in an interview last year that certain Gulf countries were backing them covertly.

Mamdouh Salameh, a London-based oil analyst, told Libyan TV that “control of the country’s two largest oil ports [Ras Lanouf and Sidra] are always a main interest of the country’s militias and of the national unity government because they are the key to the country’s economy and ultimate control of Libya.”

Martin Kobler, the outgoing U.N. special envoy for Libya, in a tweet late Friday, urged “all parties to refrain from further escalation and to ensure the protection of civilians and of Libya’s natural resources and oil facilities.”

voanews.com/a/libya-benghazi-oil-port/3749528.html

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India

Islamic Banking fails to open account in Kerala

By Express News Service  |   Published: 05th March 2017

KOCHI: Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had embraced Islamic Banking in a big way in his previous budget. But eight months later, the interest- free endeavour failed to find a place in his latest financial blueprint for the state. This has left the Cheraman Financial Services in dismay.

The Non- Banking Financial Company with equity participation of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) is yet to play a major role as envisaged in the 2016 budget.

The firm also incurred a loss of Rs 56.44 lakh last year. “We expected the Finance Minister to deliver on the announcements about Shariah investment made in the previous budget,” said National Committee on Islamic Banking convener H Abdur Raqeeb.

“As a strong proponent of Islamic Banking, we believe he understands its developmental and sustainability aspects. He should have urged the Union Government to introduce iinterest-free finance and banking in the country.” Isaac had put forward the proposal of setting up an interest-free financial institution to enhance investments in the 2010 budget.

Even though it was formed, it did not make any progress worth mentioning. He tried to revive the project by entrusting Cheraman Financial Services with the modernisation of the Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (KSDP) worth Rs 250 crore. The company was planned to be transferred to the Industries Department on lease post modernisation.

From this income, the firm was expected to distribute dividends to shareholders. Several large-scale projects could have taken off had this model been successful. “The idea to manufacture drugs worth Rs 250 crore by KSDP from the fund provided by Cheraman Financial Services is utopian. That is why the budget did not mention it. The Rs 100 crore KSDP could not compete with drug makers worth Rs 5,000 crore and above,” said Geojit BNP Paribas investment strategist V K Vijayakumar.

Isaac hopes the company will be profitable this year and its production capacity will be enhanced to Rs 200 crore

newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2017/mar/05/islamic-banking-fails-to-open-account-in-kerala-1577763.html

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Muslim scholars condole death of community's 'last national leader'

Shikha Salaria | TNN | Updated: Mar 4, 2017

NOIDA: The death of Syed Shahabuddin (82) has left a vacuum in the Muslim scholarly world of India with some suggesting him as the "last national Muslim leader".

With the death of Mohammad Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri title suit, who passed away in Ayodhya on July 20 last year and now Shahabuddin, an era in UP politics came to an end.

Shahabuddin left Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1978 and was nominated to the Parliament by the Janta Party after a Rajya Sabha seat fell vacant in 1979.

Known for his strong and articulated stand on the Babri Masjid demolition, Shahabuddin also faced criticism for taking "political advantage" of the issue.

However, he believed that it was necessary to make aware the community of the aspects of the issue, or else it will be usurped by the other party, say the organisations he represented.

In a rejoinder to an article critical of is politics, which appeared in the Urdu daily Sahafat on December 6, 2012, Shahbuddin writes: "Demolition of Babri Masjid, which was carried out by the Sangh outfits, especially BJP, was a result of two decades of organised and planned political machinations, agitations and full support of official machinery."

"He was the last Muslim whose contribution to the Babri action committee and the nation cannot be forgotted. However, he was unfortunately a misunderstood leader who had not only spoken about the issues about Muslims' involvement in national politics but was a champion of all marginalised sections of society," Navaid Hamid, president of the All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) told TOI. Shahabuddin became president of the AIMMM thrice between the years of 2000-2010.

AIMMM, a joint forum of muslim organisations and national institutions was founded in 1964.

Zafarul Islam Khan, former president of the AIMMM who worked closely with Shahabuddin between 2007-2009 told TOI that the latter was an indisputable leader of the community in 80s and 90s till the Babri Masjid demolition took place.

He had vociferously rebuked the then Narasimha Rao-led Congress Party government at the Centre for allowing the demolition of Babri Masjid.

Formed in 1986, the Babri Masjid Acyion Committee underwent a split in a few years with the other faction led by then Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid Imam Abdullah Bukhari.

"He tried to reconcile the two factions and was happy when the same happened recently," Khan said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/muslim-scholarly-world-condoles-death-of-communitys-last-national-leader/articleshow/57469580.cms

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Corpse Goes Missing From Goa Muslim Graveyard

By IANS|Panaji | Updated: 5 March 2017 6:27 AM

A dog squad had been pressed into action and a set of gloves were found in the vicinity.

Police in Goa’s North District filed an FIR on Saturday after a corpse went missing from the Sanquelim Muslim cemetery.

Police Inspector Narayan Chimulkar told IANS that the matter was reported on Saturday when Karim Ahmed Attar’s family went to the graveyard to perform some rituals, 10 days after the burial, and found the body missing.

He said that a dog squad had been pressed into action and a set of gloves were found in the vicinity, which could have been used by those who dug up the grave.

Sanquelim Kabristan Committee President Anwar Mohammad Khan said that he learnt about the grave being vandalised and the body going missing on Saturday evening, when Attar’s family wanted to perform some rites.

“It is a custom among Muslims to perform some rituals on the tenth day of the burial. When the family reached here they found the grave disturbed and the body missing. We immediately informed the police,” he said.

newsx.com/national/57734-corpse-goes-missing-from-goa-muslim-graveyard

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Pakistan

Pakistan promotes Islamic banking: WB

March 05, 2017       

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in the first Global Report on Islamic Finance have jointly stated that Pakistan was among the list of countries, where the government is taking Islamic finance seriously.

The fact that a strategic plan or a road map on a national level is in place in jurisdictions such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Pakistan shows that the governments in those countries are no longer taking Islamic finance lightly,” the first Global Report on Islamic Finance published by WB and IDB released this week stated.  Pakistan also places greater importance on channeling finance to the agriculture sector and to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Pakistan has been developing education and research infrastructure to promote Islamic finance in partnership with leading higher education institutions.

Meanwhile, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands met Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Ashraf Mahmood Wathra in Islamabad last month. Queen Maxima visited Pakistan as United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development to promote and support financial services in developing countries.

Maxima was visiting Pakistan as patron of the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion. She launched the SBP’s Universal Financial Access initiative that is designed to bring financial services to at least 50 per cent of the many millions of unbanked Pakistanis by 2020.

According to the WB-IDB report, Indonesia and Pakistan are perhaps the strongest proponents of incorporating financial inclusion as a policy objective.

It states that Pakistan clearly makes financial inclusion a goal in its road map of Islamic banking development and Islamic capital market development for the 2014-18 periods.

HUMAN CAPITAL BASE

It aims to develop the industry’s human capital base in the form of Islamic finance professionals, specialists including shariah scholars, economists, and re-searchers to meet the growing demands for compliant products and services in Pakistan.

Through a nationwide competition, three universities have been selected to establish Centres of Excellence in Islamic Finance in three provinces. The impact of these centers will be felt in a few years.

Pakistan’s Islamic banking assets stood at $6.2 billion. The country’s central bank has set out its strategic plan for 2014-18 regarding the Islamic banking industry to reach an industry-wide consensus on the future direction of the industry in the country.

The four key elements of this strategy are will aligned with the recommendations which include enabling of the policy environment.  Enabling the legal, regulatory, supervisory, and liquidity management frameworks, the taxation regime, and the financial accounting and reporting framework, Shariah governance and compliance, whereby standardisation and harmonization of shari’ah practices, as well as creation of distinct Islamic banking products and services, awareness and capacity building for increasing coordination and collaboration among internal and external stakeholders to enhance awareness of Islamic finance.

gulftoday.ae/portal/376486d1-ed7e-47a3-98d4-b94044ba4b97.aspx

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Southeast Asia

King Salman receives Indonesian president, religious leaders

ARAB NEWS | Published — Saturday 4 March 2017

King Salman receives top Islamic and religious leaders and Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta on Friday. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia to work with Indonesia to combat Daesh — ambassador

JAKARTA: King Salman received President Joko Widodo in the Indonesian capital on Friday. The king also met with top Islamic and religious leaders in Indonesia.

King Salman expressed his happiness with the meeting, saying Indonesia enjoys political stability, economic growth, and a spirit of tolerance and forgiveness among its people.

He stressed the importance of building dialogue and communication between religions and cultures to enhance tolerance, adding that since religion aims to protect and elevate human rights, extremists from all religions must be confronted.

He said the Kingdom promotes dialogue between religions and cultures, and has contributed to the development of a center for religious and cultural dialogue in Vienna.

Widodo spoke of the importance of tolerance and moderation between followers of different religions.

He expressed his pride, and that of Indonesians from all religions, with King Salman’s visit, which the president said will contribute to strengthening cooperation for the good of both friendly countries and their brotherly peoples.

Indonesian religious figures also expressed their happiness with the historic visit, and thanked King Salman for the opportunity to meet him.

They promised more such meetings to spread the culture of moderation and tolerance, and to fight terrorism and extremism in order to ensure international peace and security.

arabnews.com/node/1062956/saudi-arabia

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/prosecutors--new-york-man-willing-to-sacrifice-self-for-jihad/d/110290

 

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