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Islamic World News ( 2 March 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Seeking a Miracle on Quetta's 'Quran Mountain'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Seeking a miracle on Quetta's 'Quran Mountain': AFP

 

50 Militants Killed, 44 Wounded In Afghan Army-Led Operations: MoD

Russian Atheist Faces Year in Jail for Denying Existence of God during Webchat

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Pakistan

Seeking a Miracle on Quetta's 'Quran Mountain'

Pakistan Housing Af Taliban Leaders, Says Adviser To The PM On Foreign Affairs

Pakistan minister rules out rollback of nuke programme

Mustafa Kamal decimates MQM chief Altaf, announces new political party

Karachi airport attack suspects acquitted in shootout case

----------

South Asia

50 Militants Killed, 44 Wounded In Afghan Army-Led Operations: MoD

TTP Chief Fazlullah Living in Afghan Region Where Govt Has No Control: Afghan Envoy

Afghan Forces Take Full Control of Dand-E-Ghori in Baghlan from Taliban

Abdullah dismiss speculations about planned hand over of districts to militants

6 more kidnappers arrested in Kabul by Afghan intelligence operatives

Afghan soldier jailed for 15 years for desertion and joining enemy ranks

Karzai hints at Pakistan after gunmen attack Indian consulate in Nangarhar

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Europe

Russian Atheist Faces Year in Jail for Denying Existence of God during Webchat

'Do Not Come To Europe': EU Chief Donald Tusk Tells Migrants

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Arab World

18 Killed In Car Bomb against Syrian Insurgents

Nusra Front Militants Squashed in Lattakia's Mountainous Areas

Army Airstrikes in Homs Target ISIL Positions in 7 Different Locations

Notorious ISIL Commander Killed by Syrian Warplanes in Deir Ezzur

US captures 'significant' IS operative in Iraq

ISIS hackers target the wrong Google

'Osama warned against declaring an Islamic State too soon'

Osama feared his wife’s tooth held a tracking device

Ansarullah Backs Hezbollah against US-Israeli-Saudi Campaign

Army Frees Strategic Mountain, Several Oil Fields in Central Syria

ISIL Offensive in Jubb Al-Jarrah Flops, Syrian Forces Advance in Palmyra

Syrian Security Forces Seize Car Carrying Artillery Shells for Terrorists in Sweida

Army Fighter Jets Launch Precision-Striking Attacks on ISIL in Palmyra

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Southeast Asia

Sheikh Aaidh Al-Qarni, Saudi Preacher, Shot In Philippines

IS-Inspired Militants on Offensive in Southern Philippines

Malaysia's Biggest Bank Says Islamic Loans Overtake Conventional

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India

Three Hizbul Militants Killed In Encounter in Kashmir

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Africa

Security Forces Raid Islamic State Hideout in Libya’s Sabratha, As Clashes Intensify

Kenya Muslim teacher in line for $1 million prize

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Mideast

Iranian Deputy FM: Declaring Hezbollah A ‘Terror Group’ Undermines Lebanon’s Security

Erdoğan calls on prosecutors to take action against Demirtaş over call for March to Sur

Turkish prime minister to visit Iran this week

Iran to Inaugurate ‘Karrar’ Battle Tank Soon

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North America

US Slams Malaysian Attacks On Press Freedom

US Homeland Security chief tours Syrian refugee camp in Turkey

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/seeking-a-miracle-on-quetta-s--quran-mountain-/d/106541

 

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QUETTA: Deep inside the dry, biscuit-coloured mountains surrounding Quetta lies an unexpected treasure: a honeycomb of tunnels bursting with cases of Holy Qurans, hidden safe from desecration.

The hill known as Jabal-e-Noor, or “Mountain of Light”, has been visited by hundreds of thousands of people since two brothers turned it into a shrine for Islam’s holy book, some copies of which are up to 600 years old, officials who run it say.

Online Quran lessons become booming business in Pakistan

“We have buried at least five million sacks of old Holy Qurans,” says Jabal-e-Noor administrator Haji Muzaffar Ali.

But the mountain’s labyrinth of tunnels is steadily nearing capacity. Hundreds of sacks packed with copies of the holy book now lie exposed on the hillside as administrators struggle to create space for them.

The problem is especially thorny in Pakistan, where any disrespect to the Quran can inflame accusations of blasphemy, punishable by death — whether by the state or at the hands of a vigilante mob.

Islam’s holy text is believed by Muslims to be the word of God spoken through the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) directly to mankind. For that reason the words themselves are held sacred, meaning Muslims must dispose of their old Qurans with great respect.

Religious scholars approve of two ways: by wrapping the book carefully in a cloth and burying it in the ground, as at Jabal-e-Noor, or placing it in flowing water so the ink is washed away from the pages.

But the man behind the mountain, affluent 77-year-old businessman Abdul Sammad Lehri, has an idea that, if realised, would prove both risky and revolutionary: building one of Pakistan’s first-ever Quran-recycling plants.

Saudi officials confiscate 70,000 ‘fake’ Quran copies

The move could turn Lehri’s shrine into a target.

In neighbouring Afghanistan in 2011, around 1,000 angry demonstrators partially destroyed a paper mill that had been accused of recycling the Quran into toilet paper.

While in Pakistan an angry mob torched a factory in Punjab province in November 2015 after one of its employees was accused of burning pages from the Quran in the boiler.

But, perhaps surprisingly, scholars in Pakistan say it could work.

“The scholars… approve recycling of Qurans and if a recycling plant is reusing the pages of Qurans, there is no harm,” says Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema (religious scholars) Council.

So long as the words are removed, and the solution used to remove it disposed off in accordance with Islamic teachings, leading scholar Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman says, “then you can use those pages to reproduce or manufacture cardboards or anything”.

Existing plants in Pakistan do not recycle Qurans because of the restrictions involved, Irfan Qadir, secretary of the Punjab Quran Board, which monitors the collection and disposal of pages of Quranic verse, tells AFP — such as only Muslims being allowed to take part in the work.

“However,” he adds, “we have authorised a private foundation to recycle torn out pages of the Quran on very limited scale.”

The foundation, he says, puts water and the pages of the Quran in a barrel together, where the words are washed away.

After, “the water goes in a well dug in the ground and they use the pulp to make a very soft cardboard.”

What happens when you read people the Bible and tell them it’s the Holy Quran?

The board has proposed a recycling plant for Qurans, he says, but no action has yet been taken by the government.

At Jabal-e-Noor, named after the mountain in Saudi Arabia where the Prophet (pbuh) is said to have received the first verses of the Quran, the idea exists only in the minds of Lehri and his team for now.

Visitors to the mountain can leave donations but pay no fee to enter, and Lehri says they need the funds. “We want to install the plant and dig out more tunnels, but have no resources,” he explains.

Lehri’s passion for protecting the words of the Quran began in 1956, he tells AFP during an interview at his home in Quetta, surrounded by medicines and newspapers.

He spotted a newspaper with a large picture of the Holy Kaabah lying on the floor of a friend’s car, he says. Picking it up, he vowed to make it his mission to forever safeguard holy images and words.

In 1992, he says, he and his brother Abdul Rashid were running a stone-crushing business on a property leased in the hills outside Quetta.

But they were only using a small portion of the space leased. So, he says, “I decided to bury them (the pages) inside this mountain”.

‘Quran for all’ mobile van launched by Muslim scholars in Srinagar

As the flow of pilgrims to Jabal-e-Noor increased, many began leaving messages scribbled on the walls of the tunnels — graffitied prayers, most seeking love, for God to grant.

“Oh God, may I get a marriage of my choice,” pleads one, while others are more specific: “God, please break Amina’s engagement and rid her of Hamza”.

Those who run the mountain are now also praying for a miracle.

“I’ve asked some (rupee) billionaire friends to help” fund the recycling plant, Lehri tells AFP.

“They initially agreed — but now they are not responding,” he says.

tribune.com.pk/story/1058545seeking-a-miracle-on-quettas-quran-mountain/

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50 militants killed, 44 wounded in Afghan army-led operations: MoD

By Khaama Press - Thu Mar 03 2016

Over 50 militants were killed and 44 others were wounded during counterterrorism operations led by the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.

The operations were conducted during the past 24 hours in various provinces of the country where at least 11 militants were also arrested.

A statement by MoD said at least 15 of the militants including a commander of the group were killed in Dand-e-Ghori district of Baghlan and 12 others were wounded.

The statement further added that 12 militants were killed and 22 othثrs were wounded while 4 were arrested during an operation in Baharak district of Badakhshan.

In a separate operation in Herawood district of Uruzgan province, at least 8 militants were killed and 4 others were wounded, MoD added.

The anti-government armed militants suffered heavy casualties during an operation in Marjah district of Helmand province, MoD said, adding that the exact number will be released later.

MoD also added that a militant was killed, 5 militants were injured and 7 others were wounded in Nawa and Sangin districts of Helmand and Parwan province.

According to MoD, several weapons, ammunition and explosives were confiscated by Afghan security forces during the same operations.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the reports so far.

khaama.com/50-militants-killed-44-wounded-in-afghan-army-led-operations-mod-0235

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'Do not come to Europe': EU chief Donald Tusk tells migrants

AFP | Mar 3, 2016

ATHENS: European Union president Donald Tusk on Thursday warned economic migrants not to come to Europe as he held talks in Greece and Turkey, nations on the frontline of the refugee crisis.

"I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants wherever you are from: Do not come to Europe. Do not believe the smugglers," Tusk told a press conference in Athens after talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing."

Tusk was in Athens as part of a regional tour on the migration crisis ahead of a Monday summit between the EU and Turkey, the gateway for hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants hoping to start new lives in Europe.

Tusk will head to Turkey later on Thursday to meet Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, pressing Ankara to offer more "intensive" help in reducing the flow of migrants landing on Greek beaches.

The warning to economic migrants came after the EU unveiled a 700-million-euro ($761-million) emergency aid plan to help Greece and other countries deal with Europe's worst migration crisis since World War II.

It is the first time the 28-member bloc has responded to a situation within its borders in the same way as it treats humanitarian disasters in developing countries.

The United Nations has warned of a looming humanitarian crisis as thousands of people remain stuck in miserable winter conditions on the Greece-Macedonia border after Balkans states and Austria capped entries.

Tusk lashed out at the border controls on Thursday, blasting them as "unilateral decisions" that are "detrimental to the European spirit of solidarity".

With Macedonia tightly restricting passage through its border with Greece, only around 500 Syrian and Iraqi refugees have been allowed to cross since Tuesday, Greek police said.

Police say it is impossible to accurately track the numbers arriving on the frontier as refugees are travelling there independently, but the EU estimates that more than 12,000 may currently be stuck at the Idomeni crossing.

Austria's foreign minister on Thursday urged Greece to stop migrants from pursuing their journey to northern Europe, saying Athens should hold new arrivals at registration "hotspots".

"Those who manage to arrive in Greece should not be allowed to continue on their journey," Sebastian Kurz told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Greece has been the main point of entry for the 1.13 million migrants who have arrived in the EU over the past 14 months, and has asked for around 480 million euros ($520 million) to help shelter 100,000 refugees.

Turkey meanwhile said next week's summit in Brussels should not just focus on the migrant crisis, saying it should also tackle Ankara's relations with the bloc.

At Idomeni, bleak scenes played out Wednesday with refugees in mud-soaked fields queueing for hours for a sandwich, as aid agencies reported a lack of food and tents and warned that the wintry weather was taking a toll on people's health.

The EU aid package, which must be approved by member states and the European Parliament, was unveiled just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that debt-hit Greece must not be allowed to plunge into refugee "chaos" as the bottleneck on the Macedonian border grows.

The crisis has raised fears for the EU's Schengen passport-free zone as more states bring back border controls, although Tusk insisted on Thursday: "The Schengen rules will enter into force again."

The EU chief had on Wednesday defended the use of barbed-wire fences, saying that securing Schengen outer borders was a "pre-condition" to solving the refugee crisis.

"I'm afraid that sometimes you need tougher measures if... we want really to apply Schengen. Sorry, but this is the reality," Tusk said in Slovenia.

In the French port of Calais, demolition workers continued pulling down makeshift shelters in the so-called Jungle migrant camp for a fourth day. The camp is a magnet for people hoping to reach Britain and many have refused to leave, although there has been no repeat of the violent clashes that erupted on Monday.

French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron were to hold talks in France on Thursday, with the Calais situation topping the agenda.

Ahead of the talks, French state secretary for European Affairs Harlem Desir announced that Britain would provide an extra 20 million euros in funding to boost security at Calais.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Do-not-come-to-Europe-EU-chief-Donald-Tusk-tells-migrants/articleshow/51240459.cms

---------

Pakistan

Seeking a miracle on Quetta's 'Quran mountain'

March 3, 2016

QUETTA: Deep inside the dry, biscuit-coloured mountains surrounding Quetta lies an unexpected treasure: a honeycomb of tunnels bursting with cases of Holy Qurans, hidden safe from desecration.

The hill known as Jabal-e-Noor, or “Mountain of Light”, has been visited by hundreds of thousands of people since two brothers turned it into a shrine for Islam’s holy book, some copies of which are up to 600 years old, officials who run it say.

Online Quran lessons become booming business in Pakistan

“We have buried at least five million sacks of old Holy Qurans,” says Jabal-e-Noor administrator Haji Muzaffar Ali.

But the mountain’s labyrinth of tunnels is steadily nearing capacity. Hundreds of sacks packed with copies of the holy book now lie exposed on the hillside as administrators struggle to create space for them.

The problem is especially thorny in Pakistan, where any disrespect to the Quran can inflame accusations of blasphemy, punishable by death — whether by the state or at the hands of a vigilante mob.

Islam’s holy text is believed by Muslims to be the word of God spoken through the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) directly to mankind. For that reason the words themselves are held sacred, meaning Muslims must dispose of their old Qurans with great respect.

Religious scholars approve of two ways: by wrapping the book carefully in a cloth and burying it in the ground, as at Jabal-e-Noor, or placing it in flowing water so the ink is washed away from the pages.

But the man behind the mountain, affluent 77-year-old businessman Abdul Sammad Lehri, has an idea that, if realised, would prove both risky and revolutionary: building one of Pakistan’s first-ever Quran-recycling plants.

Saudi officials confiscate 70,000 ‘fake’ Quran copies

The move could turn Lehri’s shrine into a target.

In neighbouring Afghanistan in 2011, around 1,000 angry demonstrators partially destroyed a paper mill that had been accused of recycling the Quran into toilet paper.

While in Pakistan an angry mob torched a factory in Punjab province in November 2015 after one of its employees was accused of burning pages from the Quran in the boiler.

But, perhaps surprisingly, scholars in Pakistan say it could work.

“The scholars… approve recycling of Qurans and if a recycling plant is reusing the pages of Qurans, there is no harm,” says Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema (religious scholars) Council.

So long as the words are removed, and the solution used to remove it disposed off in accordance with Islamic teachings, leading scholar Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman says, “then you can use those pages to reproduce or manufacture cardboards or anything”.

Existing plants in Pakistan do not recycle Qurans because of the restrictions involved, Irfan Qadir, secretary of the Punjab Quran Board, which monitors the collection and disposal of pages of Quranic verse, tells AFP — such as only Muslims being allowed to take part in the work.

“However,” he adds, “we have authorised a private foundation to recycle torn out pages of the Quran on very limited scale.”

The foundation, he says, puts water and the pages of the Quran in a barrel together, where the words are washed away.

After, “the water goes in a well dug in the ground and they use the pulp to make a very soft cardboard.”

What happens when you read people the Bible and tell them it’s the Holy Quran?

The board has proposed a recycling plant for Qurans, he says, but no action has yet been taken by the government.

At Jabal-e-Noor, named after the mountain in Saudi Arabia where the Prophet (pbuh) is said to have received the first verses of the Quran, the idea exists only in the minds of Lehri and his team for now.

Visitors to the mountain can leave donations but pay no fee to enter, and Lehri says they need the funds. “We want to install the plant and dig out more tunnels, but have no resources,” he explains.

Lehri’s passion for protecting the words of the Quran began in 1956, he tells AFP during an interview at his home in Quetta, surrounded by medicines and newspapers.

He spotted a newspaper with a large picture of the Holy Kaabah lying on the floor of a friend’s car, he says. Picking it up, he vowed to make it his mission to forever safeguard holy images and words.

In 1992, he says, he and his brother Abdul Rashid were running a stone-crushing business on a property leased in the hills outside Quetta.

But they were only using a small portion of the space leased. So, he says, “I decided to bury them (the pages) inside this mountain”.

‘Quran for all’ mobile van launched by Muslim scholars in Srinagar

As the flow of pilgrims to Jabal-e-Noor increased, many began leaving messages scribbled on the walls of the tunnels — graffitied prayers, most seeking love, for God to grant.

“Oh God, may I get a marriage of my choice,” pleads one, while others are more specific: “God, please break Amina’s engagement and rid her of Hamza”.

Those who run the mountain are now also praying for a miracle.

“I’ve asked some (rupee) billionaire friends to help” fund the recycling plant, Lehri tells AFP.

“They initially agreed — but now they are not responding,” he says.

tribune.com.pk/story/1058545seeking-a-miracle-on-quettas-quran-mountain/

----------

 

Pakistan Housing Af Taliban Leaders, Says Adviser To The PM On Foreign Affairs

Mar 3, 2016

For years, Pakistan has denied that the Afghan Taliban enjoys a safe haven on its soil or that Islamabad could do anything to end their violent campaign that has seen tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and international troops killed since 2002.

But Sartaj Aziz, adviser to the Prime Minister on foreign affairs, on Wednesday said Islamabad has considerable influence over the Taliban because its leaders live in the country.

"They get some medical facilities. Their families are here," he said. "We can use those levers to pressurise them to say, 'Come to the table'. But we can't negotiate on behalf of the Afghan government because we cannot offer them what the Afghan government can."

Aziz made the comments at Washington's Council on Foreign Relations think tank on March 1. He added that Islamabad pressured Taliban leaders to participate in the first-ever direct talks with the Afghan government on July 7, 2015.

"We have threatened them that 'If you don't come forward and talk, we will at least expel you'," he said of the tough message sent to Taliban leaders, most of whom are believed to be operating out of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province. "(We told the Taliban leaders that) we have hosted (them) enough for 35 years, and we can't do it anymore because the whole world is blaming us," he said.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, the US, and China last week agreed on a road map to end the Afghan war through negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-housing-Af-Taliban-leaders-says-Sartaj-Aziz/articleshow/51233339.cms

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Pakistan minister rules out rollback of nuke programme

Mar 3, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's finance minister on Thursday said that his country will never roll back its nuclear programme despite financial hardship and threat of mounting external debt.

Ishaq Dar was briefing the Senate, the upper house of parliament, on the country's economy.

The Express Tribune reported that Dar dismissed reports about Pakistan bartering away its nuclear arsenal.

"We did not start this (nuclear) programme to roll it back. This is a programme of our security, and it is a national responsibility to protect it. All political parties of Pakistan share the ownership of our nuclear programme," he said.

"Even if our debts swell to USD 100 billion or USD 100 trillion, we will not roll back our nuclear programme," he said.

He referred to a 2008 article in Wall Street Journal headlined 'Let's Buy Pakistan's Nukes' in which the author asked Western donors to agree on a USD 100 billion economic package in exchange for eliminating Pakistan's nuclear stockpile, currently said to be the world's fastest growing.

He mentioned another article which suggested the ever-ballooning debt may lead Pakistan to compromise on its national security assets.

Dar's forceful statement came after US secretary of state John Kerry pressed Pakistan at this week's strategic dialogue in Washington to reduce its nuclear arsenal.

Dar did not mention Kerry's statement but Senate chairman Raza Rabbani asked Adviser to Prime Minister on foreign affairs sartaj Aziz to brief the house on the issue.

Aziz had urged the US not to contribute to "strategic imbalance in South Asia" by aiding India.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-minister-rules-out-rollback-of-nuke-programme/articleshow/51239766.cms

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Mustafa Kamal decimates MQM chief Altaf, announces new political party

March 3rd, 2016

KARACHI: Former mayor of Karachi, Mustafa Kamal in a dramatic return to the city revealed for the first time his reasons behind his controversial exit from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and criticised the party’s chief Altaf Hussain for "deception" and what he called his poor running of one of Karachi’s strongest political parties.

In a speech that last nearly two hours, he also announced the formation of a new political party, which he said is yet to be named. He raised a Pakistani flag and said it is the official emblem of his newly launched organisation.

"Today we are laying the foundation of an organisation, you may call it a party. We are just two individuals, myself and Anees Qaimkhani."

Midway during the speech, Kamal broke down into tears while addressing the press conference, as he went on to make major revelations about the internal workings of the party and what he called the cult of personality made around Altaf Hussain.

"Every time the MQM joined the government, its position deteriorated," Kamal stated.

"But Altaf sahab and the MQM instead of apologising, began verbally attacking PTI women activists at Two Swords,” he said, adding that despite poor governance, the MQM was able to bag two more seats between 2008 and 2013.

"I thought the PTI was stealing almost a million votes from MQM's strongholds, which will make the party rethink its ways," added Kamal, shaking his head.

Referring to the MQM supremo as “Altaf sahib” as compared to his earlier reverential use of “Altaf Bhai", he said Hussain was often intoxicated while addressing workers, and that his state worsened over time.

'Altaf was intoxicated'

"Altaf gathered his workers and was intoxicated, when he addressed his supporters at 90 after the PTI achieved success during the 2013 elections," said Kamal.

Kamal said despite repeated requests, Altaf Hussain did not pay heed to the advice given by party leaders.

Kamal added that Altaf was intoxicated when addressing the entire Rabita Committee. He went on to state that people have sacrificed their lives and generations for Altaf Hussain for years, while we used to take responsibility for all his mistakes and actions.

'We tried our best to save Altaf'

"We tried our best to keep Altaf Hussain from being exposed. Initially, he used to be out of senses at night due to excessive drinking, but now he stays intoxicated for days and weeks," stated Kamal while shedding light on current state of party affairs.

"We staged a protest outside the Sindh election commission after elections just to 'cool down Altaf's temper."

Kamal went on to state, "He used words such as "thok dou" (kill them) for PTI workers and it became the Rabita Committee's job to explain and justify his statements in front of the entire world," said Kamal.

Referring to the many resignations presented by the MQM supremo, Kamal said even the media doesn't remember how many times Altaf Hussain has resigned as party chief.

"We sacrificed for Altaf, and did not distinguish between right and wrong, but Altaf does not care about his workers. Party workers deaths are used by him for political point scoring only."

Full article here: dawn.com/news/1243282/mustafa-kamal-decimates-mqm-chief-altaf-announces-new-political-party

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Karachi airport attack suspects acquitted in shootout case

March 3rd, 2016

KARACHI: A sessions court on Wednesday acquitted three airport attack suspects in a case pertaining to a shootout with police near Saddar.

Additional district and sessions judge Sikandar Ameer Pahore, who conducted the trial inside the central prison, exonerated the accused Sarmad Siddiqui, Asif Zaheer and Nadeem alias Burger alias Mullah after hearing both sides.

The accused persons said to be associated with the Al Qaeda and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan were charged with allegedly attacking a police party and engaging them in a shootout near Saddar in order to escape on Oct 15, 2014.

The court observed the entire evidence that came up on record showed that it was a case of “ineffective firing”, as nobody from either side sustained a single gunshot wound during the exchange of fire.

Since the case became doubtful, the court ruled that it extended the benefit of the doubt to the accused.

A case was registered under Sections 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 324 (attempted murder) and 34 (common intention) of Pakistan Penal Code at the CID Civil Lines police station.

Full article here: dawn.com/news/1243145/karachi-airport-attack-suspects-acquitted-in-shootout-case

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South Asia

50 militants killed, 44 wounded in Afghan army-led operations: MoD

By Khaama Press - Thu Mar 03 2016

Over 50 militants were killed and 44 others were wounded during counterterrorism operations led by the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.

The operations were conducted during the past 24 hours in various provinces of the country where at least 11 militants were also arrested.

A statement by MoD said at least 15 of the militants including a commander of the group were killed in Dand-e-Ghori district of Baghlan and 12 others were wounded.

Full article here: khaama.com/50-militants-killed-44-wounded-in-afghan-army-led-operations-mod-0235

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TTP chief Fazlullah living in Afghan region where govt has no control: Afghan envoy

Mar 03 2016

PESHAWAR: Chief of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Tali­ban Pakistan (TTP), Mullah Fazlullah, resides in an area of Afghanistan where the Afghan government has no control, said Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal.

Mullah Fazlullah has been in hiding in Afghanistan since he fled the military operation in Swat in 2009. He has continued to live in Afghanistan after becoming the head of the TTP following the killing of his predecessor Hakimullah Mehsud in a November 2013 US drone strike.

Pakistan has on a number of occasions in the past demanded of Afghanistan to hand over Fazlullah, but Islamabad’s pleas have gone unheard.

Talking to media at the Afghan consulate in Peshawar on Thursday, Zakhilwal said that the current environment is conducive for talks between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban.

Full article here: dawn.com/news/1243285/ttp-chief-fazlullah-living-in-afghan-region-where-govt-has-no-control-afghan-envoy

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Afghan forces take full control of Dand-e-Ghori in Baghlan from Taliban

By Khaama Press - Thu Mar 03 2016

The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have take full control of Dand-e-Ghori district from Taliban militants following weeks of clearance operations.

According to local government officials, the control of the district completely fell to Afghan forces after a major offensive was launched late last night.

The officials further added that several Taliban militants were killed but the exact number has not been ascertained so far and scores of others fled the area.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

The Afghan forces launched clearance operations against the Taliban militants in Dand-e-Ghori district late in the month of January.

Full article here: khaama.com/afghan-forces-take-full-control-of-dand-e-ghori-in-baghlan-from-taliban-0233

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Abdullah dismiss speculations about planned hand over of districts to militants

By Khaama Press - Thu Mar 03 2016

The Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah dismissed speculations about the planned hand over of certain districts to the anti-government armed militant groups.

Speaking during a joint session of the Afghan parliament and cabinet of ministers, Abdullah said the speculations have been rife since the security institutions have started shifting certain security posts to the central bases in some provinces.

The session was also attended by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, members of the parliament and cabinet ministers.

Full article here: khaama.com/abdullah-dismiss-speculations-about-planned-hand-over-of-districts-to-militants-0238

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6 more kidnappers arrested in Kabul by Afghan intelligence operatives

By Khaama Press - Thu Mar 03 2016

The Afghan intelligence operatives arrested six more kidnappers from capital Kabul during the recent operations, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said.

A statement by NDS said the latest arrests were made a week after a group of 5 kidnappers were arrested in connection to the kidnapping case of a 14-year-old child.

The statement further added that the previously arrested suspects disclosed the identities of their colleagues who were arrested during an operation.

According to NDS, the newly arrested suspects have been identified as Haji Pervez, Haji Zemarai, Haji Asadullah, Toryalai, Kamil and Khalilluah.

This comes as the Afghan intelligence operatives rescued a hostage during an operation in central Midan Wardak province of Afghanistan last month.

Full article here: khaama.com/6-more-kidnappers-arrested-in-kabul-by-afghan-intelligence-operatives-0236

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Afghan soldier jailed for 15 years for desertion and joining enemy ranks

By Khaama Press - Thu Mar 03 2016

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier was sentenced to 15 years in jail for desertion and joining enemy ranks by a military court in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the soldier was serving with 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan army and has been identified as Zaib-ur-Rehman son of Mullah Jan.

A statement by MoD said the soldier was originally a resident of Behsud district of Nangarhar and was found guilty of desertion and joining the enemy ranks.

The statement further added that the soldier was tried in the presence of Gen. Mohammad Zaman Waziri, commander of 201st Silab Corps, Mohammad Mobin, head of the military court, the defense attorney Gen. Abdul Hafiz and other members of the Afghan army serving with 201st Silab Corps.

Full article here: khaama.com/afghan-soldier-jailed-for-15-years-for-desertion-and-joining-enemy-ranks-0232

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Karzai hints at Pakistan after gunmen attack Indian consulate in Nangarhar

By Khaama Press - Thu Mar 03 2016

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai hints at Pakistan following a coordinated attack on Indian consulate in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, saying the attack is part of a trend of such attacks launched from Pakistan.

Karzai is currently in India, participating the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi. “They are simply attacking India’s presence in Afghanistan, whenever they get the opportunity,” Karzai told The Hindu during an exclusive interview.

He said “The whole spectrum of the India-Afghan relations, the relationship itself, is the target of the attacks.”

Full article here: khaama.com/karzai-hints-at-pakistan-after-gunmen-attack-indian-consulate-in-nangarhar-0231

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Europe

Russian atheist faces year in jail for denying existence of God during webchat

3 March 2016

A man in southern Russia faces a potential jail sentence after he was charged with insulting the feelings of religious believers over an internet exchange in which he wrote that “there is no God”.

Viktor Krasnov, 38, who appeared in court Wednesday, is being prosecuted under a controversial 2013 law that was introduced after punk art group Pussy Riots was jailed for a performance in Moscow’s main cathedral, his lawyer Andrei Sabinin told AFP.

Miniature milestone as Russian claims new record for world's tiniest book

The charges – which carry a maximum one-year jail sentence – centre on an internet exchange that Krasnov was involved in in 2014 on a humorous local website in his hometown of Stavropol.

Full article here: theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/03/russian-atheist-faces-year-in-jail-for-denying-existence-of-god-during-webchat?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+new+sign+ups&utm_term=159813&subid=18185057&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2_footer

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'Do not come to Europe': EU chief Donald Tusk tells migrants

AFP | Mar 3, 2016

ATHENS: European Union president Donald Tusk on Thursday warned economic migrants not to come to Europe as he held talks in Greece and Turkey, nations on the frontline of the refugee crisis.

"I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants wherever you are from: Do not come to Europe. Do not believe the smugglers," Tusk told a press conference in Athens after talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing."

Full article here:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Do-not-come-to-Europe-EU-chief-Donald-Tusk-tells-migrants/articleshow/51240459.cms

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Arab World

18 killed in car bomb against Syrian insurgents

Reuters | Mar 2, 2016

Representative imageRepresentative image

BEIRUT: Eighteen fighters were killed in a car bomb blast that hit a Syrian insurgent group in the southern province of Quneitra on Wednesday, a monitoring group reported, and a rebel source said the attack was likely carried out by hardline Islamists.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion took place in the village of al-Isha, hitting a base belonging to Jabhat Thuwwar Souria, a Free Syrian Army group.

Suhaib al-Ruhail, a spokesman for the Alwiyat al-Furqan group which operates in the area, said it was most likely carried out by "Daesh sleeper cells", a reference to Islamic State.

The incident did not appear to be related to the current cessation of hostilities between the Syrian government and its allies and non-jihadist insurgent groups.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/18-killed-in-car-bomb-against-Syrian-insurgents/articleshow/51228265.cms

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Nusra Front Militants Squashed in Lattakia's Mountainous Areas

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army launched heavy attacks on the al-Nusra Front positions in a mountainous area in Northern Lattakia, killing a bunch of terrorists.

"A number of Nusra terrorists and their allies were killed in clashes with the Syrian army near al-Hadada village and Lattakia mountain in the Northern outskirts of the city," a field source said on Thursday.

Also, on Wednesday, the Syrian army and popular forces continued their advances in Lattakia province, and seized back several strategic villages and a key height in the coastal province.

The army units and popular forces seized back Mazali, al-Khashkhasha and al-Zaheqeen villages in Lattakia.

The Syrian government troops also took full control of Hadada hilltop in Lattakia province.

In a relevant development yesterday, the Syrian army announced that its troops and their popular allies have launched the last phase of their large-scale operation in an area Northeast of Lattakia to conquer the last strongholds of the militants at the province's border with Idlib.

Full article here: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000494

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Army Airstrikes in Homs Target ISIL Positions in 7 Different Locations

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian warplanes carried out several sorties in different parts of Homs on Thursday targeting the ISIL positions which killed and wounded dozens of terrorists.

A series of sorties were carried out by the Syrian air force targeting ISIL Takfiri terrorists’ sites in al-Qaryatayn city in the Southeast of Homs city, destroying militants' strongholds, weapons and ammunition and killing tens of them

More ISIL positions were destroyed, along with their vehicles equipped with machineguns, in army airstrikes in the villages of Um Sahreej, al-Shendakhiyeh al-Janoubiyeh, al-Shendakhiyeh al-Shamaliyeh, al-Msheirfeh al-Janoubiyeh, Unq al-Hawa and in the Eastern parts of Jeb al-Jarrah town.

Full article here: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000152

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Notorious ISIL Commander Killed by Syrian Warplanes in Deir Ezzur

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian air force carried out a powerful air raid over the city of Albukamaal in the Southern parts of Deir Ezzur, striking several sites of the ISIL.

The airstrikes killed a notorious leader of the terrorist group known as Mudallah al-Rabi'e (AKA “Abu Ahmad”) who was the ISIL top commander inside the city of Mohassan.

Also on Wednesday, the Syrian army ambushed a group of ISIL terrorists in one of the neighborhoods of Deir Ezzur city, and inflicted a heavy death toll on the militants.

A group of the ISIL terrorists, who tried hard to infiltrate from al-Maqaber region into al-Rasafeh neighborhood to attack the army's concentration centers, were trapped in a circle of the Syrian government forces and sustained heavy casualties in the clash.

Earlier reports said that the Syrian aircraft, in a fresh round of combat flights, targeted the ISIL strongholds in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur province, inflicting major damage on the terrorists' military equipment.

The Syrian fighter jets struck the ISIL gathering centers and lines of defense near Beit Dogheim and al-Jafra, which ended in the killing or wounding of several militants and destroyed a number of their machinegun-equipped vehicles

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000412

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US captures 'significant' IS operative in Iraq

AFP | Mar 2, 2016

WASHINGTON: US commandos have captured a "significant" Islamic State operative in Iraq and are expected to seize several more in the coming months, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The issue raises questions about what will happen to the detainee and others like him, given that President Barack Obama has ruled out sending any more terror suspects to Guantanamo Bay and the United States does not want to create a holding center for IS captives in Iraq.

US officials declined to identify the detainee to The Times, or say how much he had cooperated.

The detainee was captured by elite special operations troops who deployed to Iraq in recent weeks and whom the Pentagon calls a specialized expeditionary targeting force, or ETF.

The Pentagon has until now been tight-lipped about the team's operations, saying that discussing missions puts the elite fighters at risk.

The Times said the 200-member special operations team is made up of many Delta Force commandos.

Though it is small in number, it represents the first major US ground combat force since the official withdrawal of US troops at the end of 2011.

Another 3,870 or so US troops are in Iraq on a mission to train and support Iraqi forces fighting the IS group.

The Pentagon declined to confirm the report, saying it would not discuss the ETF's operations.

"The ETF has begun operations in Iraq. But we will not discuss the details of those missions when it risks compromising operational security," Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told AFP.

"One of the goals of the ETF is to capture ISIL leaders," he added, using an alternative acronym for the IS group.

"Any detention would be short-term and coordinated with Iraqi authorities."

officials told The Times that US interrogators were with the detainee at a temporary detention facility in Erbil in northern Iraq.

He would eventually be handed over to Iraqi or Kurdish officials.

"We are not back in the business of having long-term detainees," a US defense official told AFP.

Obama is trying to close the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison but is unlikely to succeed given staunch resistance in Congress.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-captures-significant-IS-operative-in-Iraq/articleshow/51228807.cms

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ISIS hackers target the wrong Google

Samuel Osborne | The Independent | Mar 3, 2016

A group of ISIS hackers falsely boasted they had hacked Google -- but instead targeted a website with a similar name.

A group calling itself the "Cyber Caliphate Army" vowed on messaging app Telegram they would attack Google on Monday, Vocativ.com reported.

"We promised to hack Google," the group declared.

"Keep the promise inshallah [God willing], expect us today."

However, a few hours later, they had instead defaced the website addgoogleonline.com, which is reportedly registered by someone named Gandani K from India.

Google's self-driving car hits a public bus in California

After it was hacked, the website played an ISIS song in French and displaced the group's logo along with a sign saying "Hacked By: CCA".

The group also allegedly published a list of 35 British websites it had targeted, saying the attacks were revenge for the killing of British-born ISIS hacker Junaid Hussain.

Al-Qaida 'hacks' Indian Railways website

Hussain was killed by a US airstrike last year.

Among the sites targeted were those of a salon, an instructor who offers Japanese dance classes and businesses selling bedroom furniture and laminate flooring.

The hackers said the attacks were "a message to David Cameron".

The attacks follow pro-ISIS hackers' threats that they would target the founders of Facebook and Twitter for shutting down their social media accounts.

Last year, ISIS hackers successfully accessed the Twitter account of the United States Central Command, posting personal details of senior officers.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/ISIS-hackers-target-the-wrong-Google/articleshow/51240396.cms

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'Osama warned against declaring an Islamic State too soon'

Mar 3, 2016, 04.42 PM IST

WASHINGTON: Osama bin Laden warned al-Qaida affiliates against prematurely declaring an Islamic caliphate and cautioned his fighters against excessive display of brutality, according to newly declassified files seized from his Abbottabad hideout.

In letters to subordinates, Osama denounced almost every aspect of the Islamic State playbook but the admonishments were issued several years before al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq severed ties and rebranded itself as the Islamic State.

But the documents released on Tuesday show the extent to which the ideological dispute behind that rupture was becoming intractable even before the slain al-Qaida leader's demise.

In one undated letter to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, who led the al-Qaida branch in Yemen before he was killed in a US drone strike, Osama warned against taking over the capital city to quickly establish a new Islamic state.

"We want Sana'a to establish an Islamic State, but first, we want to make sure that we have the capability to gain control of it," Osama wrote.

"The enemy continues to possess the ability to topple any state we establish. We have to remember that the enemy toppled the Taliban and Saddam's regime," he said.

Defeating the US was Osama's first priority, and he consistently pushed back against al-Qaida members who called for hitting local targets instead.

In the letter, Osama instructed al-Wuhayshi to remind "the new generation" not to pursue "separate operations rather than concentrating on the main objective."

Osama, in the letters, warned against seizing more territory than would be possible to hold, against prematurely declaring the restoration of the Islamic "caliphate" and even against "publishing pictures of prisoners after they were beheaded".

The origins of the disagreement between al-Qaida and (its Iraq wing) - all the guts are there," a senior US intelligence official, involved in reviewing the Osama letters and other materials that were declassified for Tuesday's release, was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

Full article here: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Osama-warned-against-declaring-an-Islamic-State-too-soon/articleshow/51240604.cms

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Osama feared his wife’s tooth held a tracking device

Matthew Rosenberg | NYT News Service | Mar 2, 2016

WASHINGTON: American drones were decimating the upper ranks of al-Qaida, his men were killing suspected spies, and Osama bin Laden wondered: Could an Iranian dentist have planted a tracking device in his wife's tooth?

"The size of the chip is about the length of a grain of wheat and the width of a fine piece of vermicelli," he wrote, using the nom de guerre Abu Abdallah. The letter was among documents and other materials seized by the Navy Seals during the raid on Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan's Abbottabad in May 2011, and was declassified on Tuesday.

One appeared to be a will written by Laden, in which he said he had about $29 million in Sudan and if he was killed the money should be spent on jihad. The documents provide a glimpse of Laden's thinking during his final years and the struggle to keep al-Qaida's main branch and its offshoots in line and focused as American drone strikes demoralised its foot soldiers.

Full article here: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Osama-feared-his-wifes-tooth-held-a-tracking-device/articleshow/51217430.cms

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Ansarullah Backs Hezbollah against US-Israeli-Saudi Campaign

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The resistance movement of Anrasullah in Yemen in a statement on Wednesday voiced its support for the Lebanese Hezbollah in facing the latest US-Israeli-Saudi smear campaign.

According to FNA, Ansarullah said the people of Yemen will never forget the support and the anti-Saudi statements made by Hezbollah Secretary General Seyed Hassan Nasrullah, adding that Ansarullah will always stand by Hezbollah in facing the American-Israeli-Saudi attacks.

Full article here: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000517

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Army Frees Strategic Mountain, Several Oil Fields in Central Syria

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and popular forces won back control of a strategic mountainous area and several oil fields in the Central province of Homs from the ISIL terrorists.

The Syrian army's 67th Brigade of the 18th Tank Division, in close coordination with the National Defense Forces, advanced South towards the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) after securing the entire mountaintop of Jabal Jazal and its abundant oil fields.

In South of Palmyra, the Syrian armed forces advanced to Wadi Al-Dhakara, seizing a part of the valley after a violent battle with the ISIL terrorists entrenched around its hilltops.

Recently, Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade) were deployed in the Palmyra front as part of a much larger force that is looking to break the ISIL frontlines and recapture the city.

Full article here: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000297

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ISIL Offensive in Jubb Al-Jarrah Flops, Syrian Forces Advance in Palmyra

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Eastern countryside of Homs province was engulfed with violence as the Syrian army and the ISIL engaged in several bloody battles that left several militants dead or wounded.

The ISIL launched a large-scale assault on the strategic town of Jubb al-Jarrah in the Central province of Homs, where they were confronted by a large contingent of fighters from the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Kataebat al-Ba'ath (al-Ba'ath Battalions).

The battle of Jubb Al-Jarrah lasted for over 8 hours before the ISIL finally withdrew from the town’s Eastern flank after sustaining heavy casualties.

Earlier this week, the Syrian army and its popular allies struck heavy blows at the Takfiri militants in Homs province and imposed full control over a part of oil-rich regions in the Eastern territories of the province.

Full article here: en.farsnews.com/newstext.?nn=13941213000259.aspx

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Syrian Security Forces Seize Car Carrying Artillery Shells for Terrorists in Sweida

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian security forces seized a car loaded with artillery shells bound for Takfiri terrorist groups in the Northwestern countryside of Sweida province on Thursday.

The car also carried B9mm rounds sent for the militants stationed in Eastern al-Badiya Desert.

Also on Tuesday, the Syrian army troops informed by the intelligence agents and local forces in the Southern part of the country, seized two trucks of arms cargos, including US and Israel-made mines, in two parts of Sweida province.

The cargos of militants' weapons and ammunition, including RPG, landmines and various types of ammunition, were seized by the Syrian army in two separate operations in the Eastern and Northeastern deserts of Sweida province.

Full article here: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000182

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Army Fighter Jets Launch Precision-Striking Attacks on ISIL in Palmyra

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian air force launched high-precision attacks on ISIL headquarters in Palmyra (Tadmur) city in Homs province, and inflicted several casualties on militants.

A military source said on Thursday that fortifications and gathering centers of the ISIL were directly hit in Palmyra in the Eastern part of Homs province, with the Takfiri terrorists suffering heavy losses

Full article here: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000218

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Southeast Asia

Sheikh Aaidh al-Qarni, Saudi preacher, shot in Philippines

3 March 2016

An influential Saudi Arabian preacher was shot and wounded in a southern Philippine city on Tuesday, police said, adding that security forces had killed the gunman.

Sheikh Aaidh al-Qarni was in hospital following the shooting in Zamboanga city but did not have life-threatening injuries, local police spokeswoman Senior Inspector Helen Galvez said.

“He is out of danger,” Galvez told AFP by phone.

A police report said that Qarni was shot in the right shoulder, left arm and chest while his companion, a Saudi embassy attaché, was wounded in his right thigh and left leg.

However, a Saudi embassy statement later said none of Qarni’s companions were wounded.

The police said Qarni had just delivered a university lecture when a man came out of the crowd and opened fire with a .45 calibre pistol.

Police acting as security escorts shot the attacker dead.

Full article here: theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/02/sheikh-aaidh-al-qarni-saudi-preacher-shot-philippines

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IS-inspired militants on offensive in southern Philippines

2016-03-03

Manila (AFP) -- Militants fighting in the name of the Islamic State group are escalating attacks in the southern Philippines, analysts said, deepening fears for the volatile region after its main Muslim rebel group failed to seal a peace pact.

Gunmen who have pledged allegiance to the jihadists controlling vast swathes of Iraq and Syria have instigated a series of deadly battles with the army since the nation's parliament blocked the peace push last month.

An assassination attempt this week on a visiting Saudi Arabian preacher who was on an IS hit list has raised the alarm further, although police emphasised they were yet to determine the gunman's motives.

Full article here:

mysinchew.com/node/113329

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Malaysia's Biggest Bank Says Islamic Loans Overtake Conventional

March 3, 2016

Malayan Banking Bhd. provided more Islamic loans than non-Shariah compliant financing in Malaysia for the first time in 2015 and the business was also more profitable.

Maybank Islamic Bhd. contributed 51 percent of financings by the nation’s biggest lender, up from 44 percent in 2014, and a share 10 to 20 percentage points higher is possible, Chief Executive Officer Muzaffar Hisham, said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. The unit achieved an average 16 percent return on equity in the last four years, compared with 14 percent for its parent.

“There’s no doubt it will be challenging but what we have done over the last couple of years surpassed the expectations of the industry,” said Muzaffar. Maybank Islamic attracted more customers due to competitive rates and its contributions to zakat, or charity, have also helped it lure business, he said.

Full article here: bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-02/malaysia-s-biggest-bank-says-islamic-loans-overtake-conventional

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India

Three Hizbul militants killed in encounter in Kashmir

PTI | Mar 3, 2016

A file picture of an encounter between security forces and militants in Kashmir.A file picture of an encounter between security forces and militants in Kashmir.

SRINAGAR: Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in an overnight encounter in Tral area of South Kashmir's Pulwama district, an Army official said on Thursday.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Dadsara area of Tral on Wednesday night, following information about the presence of militants there, the official said.

Full article here: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Three-Hizbul-militants-killed-in-encounter-in-Kashmir/articleshow/51233748.cms

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Africa

Security forces raid Islamic State hideout in Libya’s Sabratha, as clashes intensify

03 March, 2016

Members of a brigade loyal to the Libya Dawn at a military parade after battles against the Islamic State. Photo: Xinhua

Security forces in the western Libyan city of Sabratha said they had killed seven suspected Islamic State fighters in a raid on a militant hideout on Wednesday.

Local brigades have been battling militants in Sabratha since they briefly overran the city centre last week and beheaded more than 10 brigade members.

That followed a US air strike on the outskirts of Sabratha on February 19 in which more than 40 people were killed.

Full article here: scmp.com/news/world/article/1920088/security-forces-raid-islamic-state-hideout-libyas-sabratha-clashes

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Kenya Muslim teacher in line for $1 million prize

03 March 2016

A Kenyan Muslim teacher is among 10 finalists nominated for this year’s U.S. Global Teachers Prize.

Ayub Mohammed stands a chance of walking away with 100 million Kenyan shillings ($1 million) for educating youths against violent extremism and radicalization.

The Islamic studies teacher from Eastleigh High School in capital Nairobi was selected from among 8,000 applicants from 148 countries.

Nairobi’s Eastleigh suburb has been labeled by authorities in Kenya as the main recruiting ground of youth into the al-Shabaab militia group.

Eastleigh is predominantly inhabited by Somali immigrants; in 2014 more than 4,000 youths were arrested in one week during an anti-terror swoop.

Anadolu Agency traveled into the heart of Eastleigh Suburb -- dubbed ‘Little Mogadishu’ by locals -- to meet Ayub Mohammed.

“I hail from Wajir in Northern Kenya, one of the most underdeveloped places in Kenya, so I decided to teach to become a role model to my community,” he told Anadolu Agency.

“Violent extremism and radicalization is a very big problem here in Kenya; the youth are easily coerced into joining militant groups,” Ayub said.

Full article here: worldbulletin.net/africa/170064/kenya-muslim-teacher-in-line-for-1-million-prize

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Mideast

Iranian Deputy FM: Declaring Hezbollah A ‘Terror Group’ Undermines Lebanon’s Security

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and International Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said those who have declared the Hezbollah resistance group as a 'terrorist organization' are in fact targeting Lebanon’s security and unity.

Speaking to FNA on Thursday, Abdollahian said it is wrong to dub the resistance a terrorist entity, as the move ignores the Israeli atrocities and undermines regional peace and stability.

Abdollahian noted that Hezbollah is a front-runner in the battle against Israel and terrorism, adding that Tehran supports Lebanon’s national integrity and unity as well as its political groups.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned the decision of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council to designate the Hezbollah resistance group a terrorist organization.

Iran has condemned the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council for its decision to designate the Hezbollah resistance group a terrorist organization and serves Israel’s interests, Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi told Sputnik on Wednesday.

“We condemn the PGCC’s statement on recognizing Hezbollah a terrorist organization,” Sarmadi said.

Full article here: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000431

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Erdoğan calls on prosecutors to take action against Demirtaş over call for march to Sur

March 02, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on prosecutors to take action against pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, over his call for people to march to Diyarbakır's Sur district, which has been a flashpoint of conflict between security forces and the terrorist Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK).

“I think prosecutors have to fulfill their duties because nobody has the right to create chaos and disturb the peace in my country,” Erdoğan said during a joint press conference with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria on Wednesday.

Speaking on Monday, Demirtaş called on people to march on Wednesday to protest the more than 90-day-long curfew in Diyarbakır's Sur district.

“We don't see it as normal that a war has been ongoing in the center of the province for three months. All the people of Diyarbakır should make a stand to lift the blockade in Sur,” Demirtaş said, and called on everyone to attend the march planned to be held in Sur at 4 p.m. (2 p.m. GMT) on Wednesday.

Full article here: todayszaman.com/national_erdogan-calls-on-prosecutors-to-take-action-against-demirtas-over-call-for-march-to-sur_413848.html

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Turkish prime minister to visit Iran this week

March 02, 2016

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will travel to Iran this week on an official visit, his office said, a visit that could offer the neighbors an opportunity to discuss their sharply different views on the war in Syria.

Tehran, along with Russia, supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey is among his most outspoken critics and backs the Sunni opposition. Turkey is also close to Saudi Arabia, which has cut its diplomatic ties with Iran.

Despite their differences, Turkey and Iran have largely maintained cordial diplomatic relations. Davutoğlu will travel to Iran on March 4 and 5, according to a statement from his office.

todayszaman.com/diplomacy_turkish-prime-minister-to-visit-iran-this-week_413857.html

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Iran to Inaugurate ‘Karrar’ Battle Tank Soon

3 March 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of Ground Force Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said the new Iranian battle tank, 'Karrar', will come into operation in a special ceremony within days.

Speaking to FNA, the Iranian commander said the battle tank is as capable as Russia's T-90 tank and perhaps even better, adding that Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan and several other high-ranking officials will attend the inauguration ceremony.

He noted that the country also plans to purchase a shipment of T-90 tanks from Russia too.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Ground Force Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari announced earlier that his forces have been equipped with the home-made state-of-the-art tanks named 'Karrar' with features similar to the Russian T-90 tanks.

Full article here: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941213000408

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North America

US slams Malaysian attacks on press freedom

2016-03-03

Washington (AFP) -- The United States issued a rare stern rebuke to friend and ally Malaysia on Wednesday (Mar 2) over what it said were attempts to muzzle the free press.

The southeast Asian nation is in political crisis, amid corruption allegations against Prime Minister Najib Razak, and has cracked down on media reporting.

The State Department criticised Malaysia's "recent actions to restrict access to domestic and international reporting on Malaysian current affairs." A statement, signed by spokesman John Kirby, cited a decision last month to block access to news site "The Malaysian Insider" as cause for concern.

And he complained Malaysia "has not acted transparently nor provided due process" in targeting media groups, journalists and social media users. "Malaysian officials have also publicly described coming amendments to its Communications and Multimedia Act that would further restrict online space," he said.

While hailing Washington and Kuala Lumpur's close ties, he urged Malaysia "to ensure that all its laws, existing and future, fully respect freedom of expression."

Najib is under pressure over allegations billions of dollars had been pilfered from state firms and that he has had hundreds of millions in his bank account.

This week the Wall Street Journal, citing foreign investigators, reported that the prime minister may have received as much as US$1 billion from abroad.

Najib's office denounced the report, but he has previously acknowledged that he received a multi-million-dollar "personal donation" from Saudi Arabia.

Full article here: mysinchew.com/node/113326

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US Homeland Security chief tours Syrian refugee camp in Turkey

March 02, 2016

US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited a Syrian refugee camp in the southern province of Adana on Wednesday.

Johnson met with Turkish officials and was briefed about the refugees staying in the camp. He chatted with children and students through a translator.

The US official praised Turkey's efforts to accommodate large number of Syrians fleeing the war in their home country.

US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass and US Consul in Adana Linda Stuart Specht accompanied Johnson during his visit. He then went to İncirlik Air Base to meet with US military personnel deployed in the base.

Full article here: todayszaman.com/diplomacy_us-homeland-security-chief-tours-syrian-refugee-camp-in-turkey_413847.html

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/seeking-a-miracle-on-quetta-s--quran-mountain-/d/106541

 

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