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Islamic World News ( 11 Jul 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Syrian Fighter Jets Target ISIL Leaders' Meeting in Raqqa, Casualties Reported






Historic Day of Tolerance was observed in Islamabad and throughout Pakistan yesterday to concede the existence of various minority groups.

 



Arab World

Syrian Fighter Jets Target ISIL Leaders' Meeting in Raqqa, Casualties Reported

Syrian Army Pushes Back 400 ISIL Terrorists in Hasakah, Kills Dozens

Saudi-led air strikes kill at least 10 people in Yemen

Pishmarga Forces Target ISIL Convoy, Kill over 8 Terrorists near Kirkuk

Hezbollah to Al-Nusra Terrorists in Syria: 'Surrender or Die'

Iraqi Police Foil Suicide-Car Attack in North of Tikrit

Bomb hits Italian consulate in Egypt, killing one

IS releases new footage of 2014 Tikrit massacre

Blast damages citadel wall in Syria's UNESCO-listed Aleppo

Bombing and heavy fighting break Yemen truce: Residents

4.8 million pilgrims throng the Two Holy Mosques

OIC, IINA join hands to counter Islamophobia

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Pakistan

Minority Mob Ironically Disrupts Nationwide Day of Tolerance

4 soldiers,9 militants killed as security post attacked in Pakistan

Rebel attack leaves four Pakistani soldiers killed in Waziristan

Lakhvi refuses voice sample for Mumbai attacks case

Tracking terror: Balochistan to deploy surveillance drones

Kashmir issue to be tackled through back-channel diplomacy: Aziz

Pakistan would give befitting response to any Indian aggression: Pak minister

First time ever: Non-Muslim tribal elders appointed in Khyber Agency

Karachi will be cleared from crime, terrorists at all costs: Sindh Apex Committee

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South Asia

109 Uighurs deported from Indonesia planned to join ISIS: China

12 Killed in Roadside Bombings in Afghanistan

Taliban coordinated attack foiled in Herat

NATO on mid and long term plans to build Afghan Air Force

$220 million new Afghan parliament to be inaugurated in 5 months

Commander of Salahuddin Brigade: Over 1,000 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Beiji in 1 Month

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Mideast

Bahraini Forces Attack Anti-Regime Demonstrators

Lebanon showcases 2nd ‘Israeli drone’ crash in less than a month

Shiites target Falluja in Anbar campaign

Iran nuclear deal within reach on Sunday: Iranian official

Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange deal hits snag

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India:

Jehadi forces still a major challenge: Home Minister

India, Kyrgyzstan to hold annual joint military exercises

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Europe

UK courts need to be educated about Islam, says Birmingham Six lawyer

Italy not ‘intimidated’ by Cairo attack: Minister

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Africa:

Mali makes arrests linked to Islamist attacks: Sources

UN: Libya Draft Peace Accord Agreed

Tunisia recovers 27 dead migrants

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North America

Saudi Arabia bans import of US poultry

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Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/syrian-fighter-jets-target-isil-leaders--meeting-in-raqqa,-casualties-reported/d/103867


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Arab World

 

Syrian Fighter Jets Target ISIL Leaders' Meeting in Raqqa, Casualties Reported

 Jul 12, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- Military sources in the Northeastern parts of the country confirmed that a number of ISIL leasers were killed and wounded in a Syrian air force raid on the venue of their meeting in Raqqa.

The sources said that an ISIL leader of Saudi nationality with three of his guards were among the killed fighters of Saturday night air attack of the Syrian warplanes on Raqqa.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940421001127

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Syrian Army Pushes Back 400 ISIL Terrorists in Hasakah, Kills Dozens

Jul 12, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- ISIL terrorists sustained major setbacks in Hasakah as 400 members of the Takfiri group attempted to sneak into the Northeastern city.

ccording to reports, the Syrian troops pushed back some 400 ISIL terrorists from the district of al-Ghuweiran early on Saturday, killing and injuring scores of them.

The reports added that large groups of the terrorists fled the battlefield as they failed to resist the army's fire. 

The Syrian Armed Forces killed over 60 terrorists following the operation, including a number of foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940421001063

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Saudi-led air strikes kill at least 10 people in Yemen

SANAA, Jul 12, 2015

At least 10 people were killed in air strikes overnight in Yemen, relatives and medical sources said, as a Saudi-led coalition continued bombing the capital on Sunday in violation of a temporary humanitarian truce.

The United Nations-brokered pause in the fighting was meant to last a week to allow aid deliveries to the country's 21 million people who have endured more than three months of bombing and civil war.

A coalition of Arab states has been bombarding the Iranian-allied Houthi rebel movement - Yemen's dominant force - since late March in a bid to reinstate President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has fled to Riyadh.

A family of eight traveling in several vehicles were killed in an air strike on Saturday night in the central province of al-Baida, and two other civilians were killed in the southern city of Taiz.

A Reuters witness said air strikes on the capital Sanaa resumed on Sunday morning.

The Houthi-run Saba news agency said 12 people, including two children, were killed in Saudi-led air strikes across the country. Saba said the air strikes also hit clinics linked to the military hospital in Sanaa as well as trucks carrying food supplies in southern Aden.

The Arab coalition said on Saturday that the Yemeni government in exile had not asked it to observe the truce. But the U.N. Secretary General's office said beforehand that President Hadi had "communicated his acceptance of the pause to the coalition to ensure their support."

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; writing by Rania El Gamal; editing by Digby Lidstone)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/12/us-yemen-security-idUSKCN0PM0G820150712

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Pishmarga Forces Target ISIL Convoy, Kill over 8 Terrorists near Kirkuk

Jul 12, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Kurdish Pishmarga forces targeted a long convoy of the ISIL terrorists' vehicles in the Southwestern parts of Kirkuk, which resulted in the killing of at least 8 militants, a Pishmarga source confirmed.

“The Pishmarga fighters repelled the ISIL attack on the village of al-Hananiyah in the district of al-Riyad in Southwest of Kirkuk and destroyed a large number of their vehicles and killed at least eight terrorist fighters,” the source said.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940421000997

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Hezbollah to Al-Nusra Terrorists in Syria: 'Surrender or Die'

Jul 12, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- Fighters from the Lebanese Resistance Movement Hezbollah have issued an ultimatum to al-Nusra terrorists operating in Syria to either surrender or die.

According to local reports, Hezbollah fighters tightened their noose over al-Nusra militants in the Syrian city of Zabadani, 50 kilometers Northwest of Damascus, warning them to either surrender or face a harsh military assault. 

The reports added that Hezbollah fighters along with Syrian troops are gearing up to purge the city from a few pockets of the terrorists who are still holed up in the area.  

On July 4, Syrian ground forces managed to enter the mostly deserted Zabadani around dawn while Syrian fighter jets intensely pounded the positions of the militants inside the town.

Hezbollah fighters and the Syrian national military are engaged in a wide-scale military campaign against the Takfiri groups operating across Syria. Cleansing operations included so far Arsal barrens, Qalamoun region and Zabadani town.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940421000905

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Iraqi Police Foil Suicide-Car Attack in North of Tikrit

Jul 12, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- A security source in Salahuddin province confirmed that the country's federal police foiled a terrorist attack by two booby-trapped vehicles on a military base in the nearby areas of Albu Jawari in the Northern parts of Tikrit.

“The fourth brigade of the federal police identified and destroyed two booby-trapped vehicles near Albu Jawari, North of Tikrit,” adding, “The forces detonated the vehicles and killed everyone inside them without any police or civilian casualties.”

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940421000954

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Bomb hits Italian consulate in Egypt, killing one

AFP,12 07 15

CAIRO: A powerful bomb ripped through the Italian consulate in Cairo on Saturday, killing one person, the first assault on a foreign mission in Egypt since jihadists launched a campaign against security forces two years ago.

The consulate in central Cairo was closed at the time of the explosion around 6.30 am, which brought down the facade of the building and could be heard across the capital.

A health ministry spokesman said the blast killed a civilian and wounded nine. Medics had earlier said two policemen and three passers-by had been wounded.

Italy swiftly condemned the attack, with its foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni saying “Italy will not let itself be intimidated." He added that there were no Italian casualties.

Militants have carried out scores of attacks since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, killing hundreds of policemen and soldiers, mostly in the Sinai Peninsula.

Diplomats had told AFP they had been warned by police months ago that embassies could be targeted, but it was not clear whether this was based on specific intelligence. At least one Western embassy had relocated over security concerns.

The Italian consul in Cairo arrived at the scene of the attack and went inside the building to inspect it, refusing to speak to reporters.

The official MENA news agency reported that the blast was caused by car bomb. It brought down part of the building, and the remains of at least one vehicle were strewn on the street.

A small wooden police kiosk outside the consulate was completely destroyed. The consulate is located near the prosecution's offices and the supreme court.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1193812/bomb-hits-italian-consulate-in-egypt-killing-one

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IS releases new footage of 2014 Tikrit massacre

AFP | Jul 12, 2015

BAGHDAD: The Islamic State jihadist group has released new footage of its June 2014 massacre of hundreds of mostly Shiite military recruits in Tikrit.

The highest estimates put at 1,700 the number of cadets IS gunmen captured at the Speicher military base near Tikrit and executed at various locations, mostly in the city's former presidential palace complex.

The 22-minute video posted on jihadist forums, which included both new and previously released footage, shows hundreds of executions, providing further evidence of the scope of the atrocity.

Some of the victims are shown pleading for their lives, attempting to explain they had only just joined the security forces.

The grisly footage shows executions on an industrial scale, with victims falling out of dump trucks and later lying side by side in shallow mass graves before being shot dead one by one.

The killing went on into the night and the video shows an excavator being used to move piles of bodies.

Around 600 bodies have been exhumed since government and allied fighters retook Tikrit from IS in April but many of the victims were dumped into the Tigris river.

An unidentified IS leader in military uniform is seen in the video released yesterday.

"This is a message I address to the whole world and especially to the Rafidha dogs, I tell them we are coming," he said, using the pejorative term IS employs for Shiite Muslims.

The video was released four days after a court in Baghdad sentenced 24 men to death by hanging over the Speicher massacre.

The trial lasted only a few hours, and the convictions were based mostly on confessions the defendants claimed were obtained under torture.

Combined with a call by the country's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for Iraqis to take up arms against them, the Speicher massacre played a key role in the mass recruitment of Shiite volunteers to fight the jihadists.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/IS-releases-new-footage-of-2014-Tikrit-massacre/articleshow/48038387.cms

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Blast damages citadel wall in Syria's UNESCO-listed Aleppo

July 12, 2015

The blast partly destroyed the wall of the monumental 13th century citadel that overlooks the Old City, said the official SANA news agency and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"A powerful explosion was heard after midnight Saturday. It was caused by the blowing up of a tunnel in the Old City near the Aleppo Citadel," the Observatory said.

"The blast caused the collapse of part of the wall of the citadel," said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

It was unclear who was behind the attack, he said, but it was immediately followed by clashes between rebels and government forces who are battling for control of the northern city.

SANA said "terrorists" blew up the tunnel, causing the damage to the historic citadel.

The Syrian government and its media describe as "terrorists" the various armed groups who have been battling to oust President Bashar al-Assad's regime since 2011.

Rebel fighters in Aleppo, Syria's second largest city and pre-war commercial hub, have often set off explosions in tunnels that they have dug under military targets before launching attacks on them.

In March, rebels including Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Al-Nusra Front, attacked a regime-held intelligence base in Aleppo by first denotating a tunnel explosion and then battling the government forces.

For the past three years, Aleppo city has been divided between a government-held western sector and a rebel-held eastern one.

The rebels launched a major offensive in the first week of July to try to take territory on the western outskirts of the city.

The Aleppo Citadel, which contains the remains of mosques, a palace and bath buildings, is one of several sites in Syria on UNESCO's world heritage list.

One of the most famous is the ancient central city of Palmyra, which was seized by the jihadist Islamic State group from government forces on May 21.

Syria's conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

It has killed more than 230,000 people, turned more than four million Syrians into refugees, devastated the country's infrastructure and economy and inflicted damage in many heritage sites. AFP

http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/blast-damages-citadel-wall-in-syrias-unesco-listed-aleppo_1628869.html

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Bombing and heavy fighting break Yemen truce: Residents

Sunday, July 12, 2015 -

Sanaa: Saudi-led air strikes and heavy shelling between warring factions shook several cities in Yemen on Saturday, residents said, violating a United Nations humanitarian truce which took effect just before midnight.

The U.N.-brokered pause in the fighting was meant to last a week to allow aid deliveries to the country`s 21 million people who have endured more than three months of bombing and civil war.

A coalition of Arab states has been bombing the Iranian-allied Houthi rebel movement - Yemen`s dominant force - since late March in a bid to restore to power President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has fled to Riyadh.

hat coalition said on Saturday that the Yemeni government in exile had not asked it to pause, according to a news flash on Saudi-owned Arabiya TV.

Yemeni government officials were not immediately available to comment, but the U.N. Secretary General`s office said before the truce that President Hadi had "communicated his acceptance of the pause to the coalition to ensure their support."

Air raids pounded Houthi and Yemeni army units in the capital Sanaa and in the group`s stronghold province of Saada along the border with Saudi Arabia.

Fighting raged in the embattled southern city of Taiz and the eastern province of Mareb amid intense artillery exchanges between Houthi fighters and local militiamen backed up by Arab air strikes.

In Aden, one of the country`s most deprived and war-torn areas, witnesses said Houthi forces fired mortars and Katyusha rockets towards opposition fighters based in northern areas and around the city`s international airport.

Bombing by the Arab alliance and fighting have killed more than 3,000 people since March 26.

"TRAGIC"

The Houthis, who hail from the Shi`ite Muslim sect, and their army allies say their spread throughout the country is part of a revolution against a corrupt government and hardline Sunni Muslim militants which they say are allied to the opposition forces, and they vowed to keep up the fight despite the truce.

"Our security and armed forces maintain their right to fight and hunt down al Qaeda and Islamic State elements as part of our just defence of our people," Colonel Sharaf Luqman, spokesperson for the Houthi-allied army, said in a statement on Saturday.

Supplies of food, fuel and medicine have dwindled dangerously because of the fighting and a near-blockade by the coalition, spreading disease and hunger.

"There have been very heavy air strikes and fighting across the country, seemingly unabated," UNICEF`s Yemen representative Julien Harneis said.

Full report at:

http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/bombing-and-heavy-fighting-break-yemen-truce-residents_1628689.html

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4.8 million pilgrims throng the Two Holy Mosques

July 11, 2015

MADINAH  — The Ministry of Haj’s report on the number of pilgrims on Friday revealed there was a total of 4.8 million pilgrims in the Grand Mosque in Makkah and in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, Al-Watan daily reported.

The last 10 days of Ramadan are usually the most crowded in the Two Holy Mosques. “It is when most pilgrims perform Itikaf (an Islamic practice to retreat for a number of days in a mosque in order to focus on supplication away from the distractions of daily life) in the Two Holy Mosques. Pertinent directorates and authorities are prepared for the intensified last few days of Ramadan,” said the source.

The source also added the ministry had announced on Friday that the total number of pilgrims who visited the Two Holy Mosques this month reached 5.6 million.

“The ministry issued 5.9 million visas this Ramadan. The ministry also predicted the number of pilgrims will increase in the next few days,” said the source.

The source also added the Madinah Haj Directorate and the Madinah Police Department have raised the security alert during the final 10 days of Ramadan.

“The police and the directorate increased the frequency of their field tours to ensure that everyone is safe and comfortable. The directorate is also regulating the entrance and exit of the Prophet's Mosque round-the-clock,” said the source.

The source added the directorate has several information desks around the Prophet’s Mosque. “Lost visitors can inquire about their hotel location, tourists sites in Madinah and other information. The desks also assist the elderly and handicapped and welcome complaints and suggestions,” said the source.

The source also said the directorate is also responsible for regulating the arrival and departure flights for pilgrims coming from Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport.

“The directorate makes sure all flights arrive and depart on time. It also makes sure pilgrimage services companies and campaign are meeting the deadline of sending the pilgrims back to their native countries,” said the source.

The source also added the directorate follows up with injured and deceased pilgrims.

“The directorate follows up with the medical file of all injured pilgrims or pilgrims who had to go to the hospital for whatever health reasons. The directorate also follows through the procedure of contacting the families of deceased pilgrims to ensure they are buried where their families want them to be,” said the source.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150712250118

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OIC, IINA join hands to counter Islamophobia

July 11, 2015

Hassan Cheruppa

JEDDAH — The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the International Islamic News Agency (IINA) have agreed to join hands in combating terrorism and countering Islamophobia.

Maha Mustafa Akeel, director of the OIC Department of Information, and Ali Ahmad Al-Ghamdi, director general of IINA, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard at a ceremony held at the OIC headquarters here on Thursday.

The MoU aims at strengthening cooperation in areas of mutual concern as well as in implementing resolutions adopted by the conference of information ministers of the Muslim countries.Under the agreement, IINA will undertake text, image and video coverage of the activities of the OIC general secretariat and sending them to news agencies, satellite channels and the mass media across the Islamic world.

Both parties will organize workshops, joint training sessions for staff members of the two sides as well as for journalists from the Islamic world.

The agreement also stipulates for the joint projects and programs aimed at creating awareness about issues concerning the Islamic Ummah, especially countering Islamophobia and combating extremism and terrorism.

IINA, a specialized media organ of OIC, publishes daily online news bulletins in the Arabic, English and French languages. The Jeddah-based IINA was established in 1972 under a resolution of the Third Conference of Foreign Ministers from 57 OIC member states. Since then, there were several attempts to reactivate IINA in order to make it capable of fulfilling its objective of enhancing and preserving Islamic cultural heritage and strengthening ties among Muslims all over the world.

As part of a 10-year action plan approved by the 3rd Extraordinary Islamic Summit held in Makkah in December 2005, IINA underwent major facelift so as to enable it to play an effective role in bolstering Islamic unity and highlighting causes of Muslims worldwide.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150712250119

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Pakistan

 

Minority Mob Ironically Disrupts Nationwide Day of Tolerance

July 11, 2015

LAMABAD: A historic Day of Tolerance was observed in the capital and throughout the country yesterday to concede the existence of various minority groups in the country.

The proceedings were ironically disrupted by representatives of the same minority groups who were to be honored at the event, in what has been described by a government spokesman as a classic case of “biting the hand that feeds.”

The official commemoration of the Day of Tolerance was held to much fanfare at the PNCA auditorium in Islamabad.

At a press conference preceding the event, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage applauded the wisdom of the founding fathers in conceding an entire portion of the national flag to religious minorities at the time of Pakistan’s birth.

The Minister then remarked on the tremendous diversity of the different minorities attending this year’s commemoration ceremony. “Kaisay kaisay log aye huay hain. Insaan dekh ke paraishaan ho jaata hai,” he exclaimed.

He said: “The founders knew that they [religious minorities] had to be granted recognition before they could organize and demand even greater concessions.”

He remarked that it was time to extend the same kind of recognition to members of other minority groups, representing all shades of political, ethnic, sectarian and sexual identity in Pakistan.

He also added that, in view of public sentiment against the celebration of diversity, the event would not feature any music, bright colors or biryani. “We scoured the city looking for the blandest janaza pulao to serve you today,” he said, beaming with pride. Leaders and representatives of all political parties and their entourages were seated in the front half of the auditorium, while members of the media and public occupied the remaining seats.

The lack of seating arrangements for representatives of different minority groups was duly noted by the Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, who was nevertheless confident that the amount of recognition each minority group received by the end of the event would more than make up for the logistical oversight.

Full report at:

http://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/opinion/minority-mob-ironically-disrupts-nationwide-day-of-tolerance/

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4 soldiers,9 militants killed as security post attacked in Pakistan

PTI | Jul 12, 2015

PESHAWAR: At least four soldiers and nine militants were killed today after insurgents attacked a security post in Pakistan's restive tribal region where a massive army operation is underway against the Taliban.

Militants attacked the security outpost in South Waziristan which led to a clash.

Army said four soldiers were killed in the attack forcing the army to retaliate, killing nine militants.

The army also launched a search operation in the area.

South Waziristan was cleared in a military operation in 2009 but still rebels are active in its border areas.

After the operation in neighbouring North Waziristan, the militants are hard pressed from the two sides.

Army has also moved ahead to clear the Shawal valley which overlaps both South and North Waziristan and links these two districts to Afghanistan.

More than 2,800 militants have been killed since the launch of the operation last June.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/4-soldiers9-militants-killed-as-security-post-attacked-in-Pakistan/articleshow/48038370.cms

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Rebel attack leaves four Pakistani soldiers killed in Waziristan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jul 12 2015

Four soldiers and nine militants have been killed in Waziristan tribal built of Pakistan.

Local media reports suggest that the incident took place in Pre Ghar area on the border between North and South Waziristan on Saturday.

According to these reports, military personnel were on duty when a group of armed rebels attacked them.

Pakistan’s military said in a statement that the exchange of fire left four soldiers and nine militants killed.

“At least nine terrorists were killed in a cordon and search operation. Four soldiers also embraced shahadat (martyrdom),” the military said in a statement.

Five soldiers also sustained injuries in the gun battle.

The skirmish takes place amid an all-out military operation against Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other insurgent groups in the tribal built that also shares border with Afghanistan.

It began in June last year after peace talks with Taliban failed and a deadly attack took place on Karachi airport, leaving around 30 people killed.

Pakistan claim to have broken the spine of militants during the Operation Zarb-i-Azab by killing more than 2700 of the groups’ fighters and commanders and destroying most of their hideouts.

However, these claims cannot be independently verified since the area is off-limits to media.

http://www.khaama.com/four-soldiers-nine-militants-killed-in-waziristan-3629

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Lakhvi refuses voice sample for Mumbai attacks case

By Web DeskPublished: July 12, 2015

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the main accused in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 160 people, has refused to give consent for a voice sample in the case.

Rizwan Abbasi said that the Pakistani citizen would refuse any request for his voice sample.

“According to our law, the accused have to give their consent,” he said, adding that he would also question any future move by the prosecution to seek the samples. The issue will be discussed further between the National Security Agencies of the two countries.

Abbasi’s remarks came a day after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif agreed to expedite the trial through various methods, including through the provision of voice samples. Earlier, an anti-terror court in Pakistan had granted bail to Lakhvi due to the alleged lack of evidence against him

Indian Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said  Lakhvi’s position is an ‘admission of guilt’ and asked the Pakistan government to take severe action against him.

“Pakistan Prime Minister promised Narendra Modi to expedite the trial, so now Lakhvi’s lawyer’s refusal should be dealt with by the Pakistan government. Lakhvi’s position is an admission of guilt,”

Only days ago the respective prime ministers of both countries met in Ufa, Russia where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s invitation to visit Pakistan next year for the Saarc summit and the two countries also agreed to take a series of steps to revive the stalled peace process.

A joint media statement released after an hour-long meeting between Modi and Sharif in Russia on Friday outlined that the two sides had decided to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.

Lakhvi was arrested in 2008 and indicted On November 25, 2009, for planning and helping to carry out the Mumbai attacks. An anti-terrorism court granted him bail against Rs500,000 surety bonds on December 18, 2014. The same day, a local magistrate issued a detention order for one month. On December 29, 2014, Islamabad High Court set aside the detention order and directed the authorities to release him. The Okara DCO ordered his detention on March 12 under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/919428/lakhvi-refuses-voice-sample-in-mumbai-attacks-case/

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Tracking terror: Balochistan to deploy surveillance drones

By Mohammad ZafarPublished: July 12, 2015

QUETTA: The Balochistan government has decided on aerial surveillance of criminals in an attempt to stabilise the province which has been wracked by ethnic, sectarian and militant violence. It has written a letter to the federal government seeking permission to surveillance drones in the province.

The provincial authorities announced on Saturday that it would purchase drone cameras to monitor the activities of criminals. Officials said the move was a part of the process of using modern equipment to curb terrorism, especially in the provincial capital, which is once again witnessing an uptick in targeted killings and bomb explosions.

Home Secretary Akber Hussain Durrani told The Express Tribune that the government has forwarded a summary to the federal government to seek permission for flying surveillance drones to monitor criminals’ activities. The federation’s approval is a prerequisite for using drones in Pakistan.

He said special training programmes would be started for the police to train them on how to operate the flying cameras. The government has intensified its action against terrorists and their handlers involved in subversive activities in Quetta, he added.

Following the recent surge in violence in Quetta, the provincial government has already given instructions to install 200 security cameras in different areas of the provincial capital.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/919256/tracking-terror-balochistan-to-deploy-surveillance-drones/

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Kashmir issue to be tackled through back-channel diplomacy: Aziz

By Web DeskPublished: July 12, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Saturday Pakistan and India have decided to resolve the longstanding disputes of Kashmir, Siachen, and Sir Creek through ‘back-channel diplomacy’.

“Both leaders were of the opinion that for lasting peace the way forward was to address the outstanding issues like Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek,” Aziz said, regarding the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Ufa, Russia on Friday.

“The two sides also agreed to take up these issues under the back-channel Track-II mechanism for better understanding of each other’s point of view,” Aziz added.

Aziz’s statement comes after backlash from opposition parties over not mentioning the Kashmir dispute in a joint statement issued by the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India after Russia talks.

The two south Asian nuclear-tipped rivals agreed to revive the stalled dialogue process, according to a joint statement issued on Friday.

Further, claiming the meeting between the two leaders was held in a good atmosphere as both sides upheld peace in the region was vital for progress, Aziz said, “The two sides believe in combating poverty, instead of fighting each other.”

Aziz pointed out that the meeting was useful in lessening tension and for better understanding of each other’s point of view.

“The first priority is to lessen tensions on the Line of Control and the two sides have agreed to activate the mechanism of meetings between the Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers,” he added.

Further, the United States has welcomed the meeting between the two premiers and the announcement for resumption of stalled dialogue.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/919375/kashmir-dispute-to-be-tackled-through-back-channel-diplomacy-aziz/

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Pakistan would give befitting response to any Indian aggression: Pak minister

PTI | Jul 11, 2015

ISLAMABAD: When Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was meeting his Indian counterpart for ice-breaking talks in Russia, back home his confidante and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar warned India of a "befitting response" in case of any aggression.

Dar was responding to a motion by Senator Sassui Palijo of Pakistan People's Party in the Senate on Friday. Palijo had sought government attention towards the destruction of infrastructure along the border due to heavy mortar shelling by Indian troops.

The Express Tribune quoted Dar as saying that New Delhi should not cast an evil eye on Pakistan's economic prosperity. "Pakistan's next-door neighbour India could not digest Pak-China Economic Corridor project deal," Dar said.

"We would give a befitting response to any Indian aggression (both on economic and war fronts)," he told lawmakers. Dar also said China has rejected India's concerns over the corridor when he recently raised the issue with Chinese leaders.

"But China has shown (Modi) the red flag," he said, adding that Pakistan has been taking up the issue of cross- border violation at international forums as well as with India.

"We have not closed our eyes. We don't have a soft corner for India. We are not beggars," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-would-give-befitting-response-to-any-Indian-aggression-Finance-minister-Ishaq-Dar/articleshow/48032862.cms

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First time ever: Non-Muslim tribal elders appointed in Khyber Agency

LANDIKOTAL: For the first time in the history of the tribal belt, four non-Muslim tribesmen have been awarded the lungi [turban] and appointed as tribal elders in Khyber Agency.

The British used to award the traditional head covering to those who contributed towards maintaining law and order and establishing the coloniser’s writ in tribal society. Following independence, colonial administrative particularities were refashioned by the Pakistan government. Today, lungi holders serve as mediators between the state and the tribespeople. They are authorised to attest domiciles, Computerised National Identity Card, passport and education stipend documents. In turn, these elders receive some perks and privileges from the government – in addition to carrying considerable clout. They are entitled to attend official jirgas with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor as well as the president and prime minister.

Read: Tehsil council: Hindu elder elected unopposed in Topi

A question of inclusivity

A sizeable non-Muslim population has largely remained marginalised in the tribal heartlands for years. Although adherents of different faiths have been part of the historical fabric of the tribal areas, the question of inclusivity has always existed and radicalisation had only worsened problems.

Following the historic announcement, in customary terms, minorities have officially been recognised as part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The Khyber Agency political administration took the leap following directives issued by Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan. Back in April, Mehtab okayed a summary that allowed non-Muslims domicile and property rights. He had also assured social activists and minority representatives of granting lungi holder status to non-Muslim tribesmen.

Formalising an identity

According to a communiqué issued from the Peshawar DC office on April 28, Gurmeet Singh, Narinjan Singh, Wilson Wazir and James Michael were to be added to the list of lungi holders. The decision has now formally been announced by the political administration.

“It is a momentous achievement. After struggling for years we will now finally be treated as equals in Fata,” said Wazir, talking to The Express Tribune. An estimated 2,500 Christians reside in two subdivisions of Khyber Agency. “We now have an identity – a tribal one.” He said it was time the same is extended to other administrative units of the tribal belt.

Amongst a host of other challenges, tribal non-Muslims earlier could not obtain domiciles because there was no one who could attest their documents, he said.

“Some official process is still incomplete. The domicile form does not have a section for non-Muslims.” The newly-appointed elder said the government has assured all necessary paperwork will be complete by the end of Ramazan.

Before Lashkar-e-Islam rose to power in Khyber Agency, Sikhs had been living there for centuries. Families started leaving the agency in droves, for what they considered ‘safer’ homes – Peshawar and even Karachi in Sindh.

The Jogan Shah Gurdwara saw a revival as did several trade businesses in the city of flowers.

However, 2014 became the year Sikhs were ruthlessly targeted in Peshawar and surrounding districts.

Displaced

After Operation Zarb-e-Azb started in 2014, being a non-Muslim meant the displaced families from North Waziristan had to deal with a separate set of problems. Some of these exacerbated by the lack of a lungi holder to attest to their status. By July, at least 165 families from other faiths had to leave the agency. According to NADRA’s data, 114 Christian, 29 Hindu, 10 Baha’i and 4 Buddhist families were among those displaced.

Those with dual addresses on their ID cards were hit the hardest. There are many Christian families with their permanent and current address of Punjab. These people were denied registration for ration, despite having lived in the agency for generations.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/919212/first-time-ever-non-muslim-tribal-elders-appointed-in-khyber-agency/

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Karachi will be cleared from crime, terrorists at all costs: Sindh Apex Committee

 July 12, 2015

From Web Edition

KARACHI: An emergency meeting of Sindh Apex Committee is underway at Chief Minister House here on Sunday.

 The meeting was convened on short notice as Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah will leave to perform Umrah.

 According to sources, it was agreed in the meeting that the operation against terrorists will be brought to its logical conclusion and the port city will be cleared from crime and miscreants at all costs.

 “Slow implementation on National Action Plan (NAP) is affecting action against miscreants in the metropolis,” it was observed in the meeting.

 Sindh Governor Dr Isratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Corps Commander Karachi Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar, DG Rangers Sindh Major General Bilal Akbar and other high ups are attending the meeting.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-190937-Karachi-will-be-cleared-from-crime,-terrorists-at-all-costs:-Sindh-Apex-Committee

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South Asia

 

109 Uighurs deported from Indonesia planned to join ISIS: China

July 12, 2015

Beijing: Downplaying criticism over the deportation of 109 Uighur Muslim immigrants from Xinjiang by Thailand, China has alleged that they were on their way to Turkey, Syria or Iraq to join Islamic State terror group and take part in jihad.

Several recruitment gangs were uncovered in Turkey by a Chinese police investigation, It was also discovered that Turkish diplomats in some Southeast Asian countries had facilitated the illegal movement of people, the Ministry of Public Security said.

Of the 109 individuals returned to China this week, 13 had fled China after being implicated in terrorist activities and another two had escaped detention, a statement from the ministry said.

State television showed the hooded and handcuffed immigrants brought in special planes with two policemen escorting each one of them.

According to their accounts, many had been radicalized by materials released by the World Uighur Congress and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a militant organisation fighting for the separation of Xinjiang from China, the statement said.

After arriving in Turkey, many, led by the ETIM terrorist group, went on to Syria to join the fighting.

Even those who did not get as far as Syria, were involved in jihadist activities wherever they had stopped, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China blamed ETIM for host of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and various parts of China including Beijing and Kunming.

There was unrest among Uighurs, who are Muslims of Turkish origin over the increasing settlements of Han population.

The mass deportation of Uighur immigrants from Thailand has come for strong criticism from the US and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

While the US and Turkey have condemned the move by Thailand to deport more than 100 ethnic Uighur Muslims back to China amid fears that the refugees will be persecuted by Beijing authorities, UNHRC said it was "shocked" by what it called "a flagrant violation of international law."

A large number of radicalised Chinese and the heads of organised gangs have been deported from Southeast Asia this year, Chinese interior ministry statement said.

The recruitment gangs had used religious extremism to encourage people to go to Syria and Iraq to participate in jihad, it said.

Earlier, China had accused Turkish diplomats of providing fake passports to members of the Muslim Uighur minority attempting to flee overseas, saying they then go on to become "cannon fodder" for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq. PTI

http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/109-uighurs-deported-from-indonesia-planned-to-join-isis-china_1628838.html

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12 Killed in Roadside Bombings in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Jul 12, 2015

 Associated Press

At least 12 Afghan civilians have been killed in a pair of roadside bomb explosions in the country's east and north, according to Afghan security officials.

Gen. Abdul Karim Fayeq, provincial police chief in Kapisa province, said on Sunday that 10 civilians were killed and at least seven others wounded after their van hit by a newly planted roadside bomb.

The attack took place in Tagab district, where insurgents are active and regularly attack Afghan security forces, said Fayeq.

In another report from northern Kunduz province, two civilians were killed when a roadside bomb explosion struck a passing police vehicle, said Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

Hussaini added that four civilians and two policemen were also wounded in the blast.

No group immediately claimed responsibilities for the attacks in Kapisa and Kunduz provinces, but the Taliban frequently uses roadside bombs and suicide attacks to target Afghan army or police forces across the country.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/10-killed-roadside-bombing-afghanistan-32391732

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Taliban coordinated attack foiled in Herat

By KHAAMA PRESS - Jul 12 2015

Security forces have foiled a Taliban coordinated attack in western Herat province.

According to local security officials dozens of Taliban insurgents planned to attack the capital of Obah District earlier this morning but security forces acted upon receiving intelligence information and prevented the attack.

Shir Aqa Alakozai, Herat’s police chief said that two Taliban militants were killed and seven others wounded after security forces attacked the Taliban gathering moments before the scheduled launch time of the attack.

Alakozai said that security forces did not receive casualties in this operation, adding that some weapons and ammunition were also seized from the Taliban.

After the announcement of their “Spring Offensive” in April, Taliban have changed their tactics by relying more on attacking districts in a bid to occupy them.

They have been able to control some of the seized districts but pushed back by the security forces within days.

http://www.khaama.com/taliban-coordinated-attack-foiled-in-heart-3635

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NATO on mid and long term plans to build Afghan Air Force

By MIRWAIS ADEEL - Sun Jul 12 2015

The commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan Gen. John F. Campbell said NATO is looking for mid and long term to build the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force.

Speaking to reporters during a media round table in Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul on Saturday, Gen. Campbell said building an air force is very hard, it takes long time to build the pilots and maintainers.

Gen. Campbell admitted that work on the Afghan Air Force rehabilitation started late but he emphasized that he is impressed with the Afghan security forces where they are at the moment.

He said the Afghan Air Force is currently equipped with the M-i-17 helicopters which adds to the capabilities of the Afghan forces as the helicopters are capable of firing rockets and machine gun.

Gen. Campbell also added that the MD-530 helicopters will also become operational with the Afghan Air Force in the near future which will further boost the air force capabilities.

On the fixed capabilities of the Afghan Air Force, Gen. Campbell said A-29 Super Tucanos would be added to the Afghan Air Force fleet which will have the capability to drop two 500 pound bombs but it will take time until the planes are fully operational as the pilots are currently undergoing training in United States.

Gen. Campbell

He said NATO is looking taking a hard look as Afghanistan is trying to reach to the region to add more helicopters, specifically the Mi-35s to the Afghan Air Force fleet.

On the short plans, Gen. Campbell said NATO is working to build the A-TACS which are the Afghans who are trained to get into the ground, spot and target and coordinated with the units to provide close air support.

The Afghan Air Force received the fist six armed MD-530s from United States earlier in the month of March this year.

Pentagon awarded MD Helicopters Inc. a maximum $44.2 million firm-fixed-price contract last year to develop and provide an armament package for the MD-530F helicopters that were already supplied to the Afghan Air Force.

Around 17 of the Afghan Air Force’s MD-530F helicopter will be upgraded under the contract which is expected to be completed early next year.

MD-530F helicopters are designed for high altitude and/or hot weather operations, where thinner air costs helicopters some of their lift.

http://www.khaama.com/nato-on-mid-and-long-term-plans-to-build-afghan-air-force-9502

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$220 million new Afghan parliament to be inaugurated in 5 months

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jul 12 2015

Officials in the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs said Sunday that the new Afghan Parliament building will be inaugurated within the next five months.

The new parliament building is currently being built by the government of India which is expected to cost around $220 million.

According to MUDA officials, the new building consists of four sections, including A,B,C and D.

The officials further added that Section-A is the main parliament hall where the lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament – Wolesi Jirga will hold parliamentary sessions.

Afghan Urban Development Affairs Minister Syed Sadat Mansoor Naderi visited the construction site along with the Indian ambassador in Afghanistan Mr. Amar Sinha to review the construction works.

Section-B is comprised of a four storey building which will include two halls for general sessions, separate dining halls for the Lower and Upper House of the Parliament.

Sadat Naderi

A library will also be included Section-B of the new parliament building which will include a computer room.

The Section-C of the new parliament building is known as the entrance hall which will have a dome constructed of stainless steel and glass which will have five halls for parliamentary commissions in the second floor.

The new parliament building is being built in 40.6 hectares of land and is five times bigger than the current parliament building.

The new building also consists of 20 lifts, 15 stairs and toilets for men and women in 35 locations.

Marbles from Chesht-e-Sharif district have been used for the floor works of the new parliament building. A big administration building, a mosque that could house 400 prayers, a modern library, VIP guesthouse and 350 apartments for the lawmakers have also been considered in the new parliament building.

http://www.khaama.com/220-million-new-afghan-parliament-to-be-inaugurated-in-5-months-1272

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Commander of Salahuddin Brigade: Over 1,000 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Beiji in 1 Month

Jul 12, 2015 1:41

TEHRAN (FNA)- Hundreds of Takfiri terrorists have been killed in clashes with the Iraqi volunteer forces in the city of Beiji in the last month, informed sources announced.

"The Iraqi volunteer forces killed more than 1,000 ISIL militants in just one month of fighting against the Takfiri terrorists in Beiji," Commander of Salahuddin Brigade Asham al-Jabouri said on Sunday.

Al-Jabouri reiterated that there is a good cooperation between Iraqi volunteer forces and Salahuddin police in conducting joint mop up operations against the terrorists.

Beiji, located 40 kilometers to the North of Tikrit, has been the scene of heavy clashes between Iraqi force and Takfiri terrorists in recent weeks.

Beiji is located in Salahuddin province and 210 kilometers to the North of Baghdad. Iraq's biggest oil refinery is located in Beiji.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940421000677

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Mideast

 

Bahraini Forces Attack Anti-Regime Demonstrators

Jul 12, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- Bahraini forces once again attacked two separate demonstrations held to commemorate two protesters killed during anti-regime rallies in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

On Saturday evening, scores of people took to the streets on the island of Sitra, situated about 12 kilometers (7 miles) Southeast of the capital, Manama, as well as the village of al-Akr, located 32 kilometers (20 miles) South of the capital, to pay tribute to the two slain protesters and demand justice for them, Albawaba news reported.

The participants carried portraits of the two Bahraini marchers killed at the hands of regime forces as well as Bahrain’s national flags, chanting slogans in condemnation of the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty.

Security guards then intervened and fired tear gas canisters to break up the protests and disperse the demonstrators.

In a separate development, Bahraini forces arrested political activist Ibrahim Sharif days after his speech at the funeral of an anti-regime protester.

Informed sources, requesting not to be named, said six military vehicles and eight civilian cars surrounded the house of the 58-year-old head of the National Democratic Action Society in the Umm al-Hassam neighborhood of Manama before forces moved in to detain him.

Sharif was later released after spending 48 hours in police custody.

During his speech at Hossam al-Haddad’s funeral ceremony in Bahrain’s third largest city of Muharraq, Sharif had accused the Al Khalifa regime of “being too authoritarian toward underprivileged people but very weak in the face of the haves.”

He had also said that the incumbent dynasty “has stolen a whole loaf of bread, is simply offering people very small bits of it, and expects the Bahraini nation to be grateful for such treatment.”

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.

Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940421000850

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Lebanon showcases 2nd ‘Israeli drone’ crash in less than a month

July 12, 2015

An Israeli spy drone has crashed in the waters off the Lebanese Mediterranean city of Tripoli, Lebanon’s army claimed, releasing a video of the debris. It is the second such incident in less than a month which the IDF has so far refused to comment on.

“At around 8:30am (local time), a drone belonging to the Israeli enemy went down in the port of Tripoli, and the army has taken the necessary measures,” the Lebanese military said in a statement, without providing any further details.

The published photos and video revealed the surveillance drone to be largely intact with a clearly visible Jewish Star of David and Hebrew writing on it. Lebanese media reported that the army surrounded the area to pull the debris from the water and conduct initial tests, which confirmed the aerial vehicle “turned out to be an Israeli drone.”

“Fishermen had the impression a plane was falling down towards their harbour, close to the main port of Tripoli,” Lebanese security official told AFP.

“They alerted the army which has retrieved the aircraft from eight meters under water. It turned out later that it was an Israeli drone,” said the source.

According to security officials, the drone was spying on the Lebanese and Syrian coastline before the crash.

This is the second time in less than a month that a suspected Israeli drone has gone down in Lebanon.

On June 21, in order to destroy the wreckage of an Israeli spy drone that crashed in the area, an Israeli fighter jet allegedly struck a mountainous area near the town of Saghbine in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, located about 70 kilometers east of Beirut.

Lebanon and the UN peacekeepers in Lebanon (UNIFIL), have repeatedly condemned the drone overflights claiming them to be a violation of UN Resolution 1701 and the country’s sovereignty.

Following the 2006 Israeli war with Hezbollah, the Jewish state continues to monitor alleged terrorist activity inside Lebanon. The 2006 war killed an estimated 500 Hezbollah militia and up to 1,200 mostly civilian citizens and foreigners, as well as causing heavy damage to the country’s infrastructure. The death toll on the Israeli side stood at 165 people, including 44 civilians.

http://rt.com/news/273178-lebanon-israeli-drone-crash/

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Shiites target Falluja in Anbar campaign

July 11, 2015

ERBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Shiite militia fighters are tightening a noose around the Daesh-held city of Falluja west of Baghdad as the first stage of a counter-offensive in the Sunni province of Anbar, likely to determine the course of the conflict in coming months.

Daesh (the so-called IS) seized Anbar’s capital Ramadi two months ago, extending its control over the Euphrates River Valley west of Baghdad and dealing a major setback to Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and the US-backed army he entrusted with its defense.

While the government initially vowed to swiftly recapture Ramadi, it now appears to have turned instead to Falluja, a city located further downriver and closer to Baghdad, meaning supply lines for a counter-offensive would be less vulnerable.

Colonel Ali Al-Yasiri, commander of Iraq’s 4th armored regiment, 1st division, which is fighting near Falluja, said plans for a quick offensive to retake Ramadi were shelved in June after commanders concluded that Falluja would be “a dagger pointed at the army in Ramadi” unless it was tackled first.

“Our commanders gave us orders one week after losing Ramadi to regroup ... in order to launch a counter offensive to retake Ramadi,” he told Reuters. “This decision failed to win support from all military commanders.”

As the government seeks to claw back territory, Abadi has turned to the mainly Shiite Hashid Shaabi militia fighters who have proven more successful than the army on the ground.

In April, the militia recaptured the city of Tikrit, former dictator Saddam Hussein’s home town on the Tigris River north of Baghdad. But until the fall of Ramadi in May, the government was reluctant to deploy the Shiite fighters west of Baghdad in the valley of Iraq’s other great river, the Euphrates, where Sunni tribes have been hostile to outsiders for generations.

The army seems to be taking advantage of the extra capabilities offered by the militia umbrella group, which includes Iranian-backed elements.

Abadi and the army can rely on US-led airstrikes, more closely coordinated since US officers moved into a military base less than 10 miles (15 km) from Falluja and started overseeing training of Sunni tribal recruits there.

Jets and artillery have been pounding militant targets in both Falluja and Ramadi, inflicting heavy daily casualties on militants and civilians alike, according to medical sources.

But a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested a lack of Iraqi army control of militia activities in Falluja would prevent the kind of air support for the campaign that the United States has offered elsewhere in Iraq.

Full report at:

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150712250104

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Iran nuclear deal within reach on Sunday: Iranian official

July 12, 2015

Vienna: A nuclear deal between Iran and major powers was within reach on Sunday, a senior Iranian official said, adding that some issues remained that needed to be resolved by foreign ministers.

"The deal is within reach today ... but some issues remain that need to be resolved by foreign ministers," the official told Reuters.  Reuters

http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/iran-nuclear-deal-within-reach-on-sunday-iranian-official_1628816.html

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Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange deal hits snag

It’s no coincidence that the disappearance in Gaza of a young Israeli man named Avraham Mengistu has only now been made public. Mengistu, a 29-year-old in all likelihood suffering from mental illness, climbed the border fence near the Zikim kibbutz Sept. 7, 2014, and has since been considered missing. On July 9, a gag order was lifted on the disappearance of another Israeli, a Bedouin man who crossed the border into Gaza as well. Israeli authorities are treating the two cases quite differently. Mengistu was captured by Hamas shortly after entering Gaza, whereas the other Israeli had crossed the border several times in the past and is thought to be living in Gaza, with a family and with Hamas' consent, and is not therefore considered any sort of potential bargaining chip.

Israel kept a lid on Mengistu’s crossing into Gaza, assuming that as long as Hamas did not publicly declare that it held him, an exchange could be quietly negotiated for his return along with the remains of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, two Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge.

The only hint that Hamas has conveyed in recent days, to its followers and to Israel, was during a July 8 rally by its military wing the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade, marking the one-year anniversary of last summer's war. In addition to a display of weaponry — including two rockets, which Hamas claims to have recently developed — three IDF dog tags were exhibited. One of them bears Shaul's name, but the two others had no names inscribed. This is a clear sign that the organization holds three bargaining chips in its hands.

Significant progress on a deal was reportedly made through contacts between Israel and Hamas using European intermediaries and involvement by the Red Cross. According to Hamas sources, the deal was expected to have been completed around Eid al-Fitr, the feast culminating the month-long Ramadan fast that this year falls between July 18 and 20. A senior Hamas official is quoted as saying that Israel was supposed to release several prisoners, probably a few dozen, during the holiday and in return, Hamas would give Israel the two soldiers' remains. The progress to which the source referred was based on an understanding the sides had reached on the number of prisoners.

Israel usually frees Palestinian prisoners every year around Eid al-Fitr as a goodwill gesture. These are prisoners who have all but finished serving their terms and are not considered security threats. The release of prisoners, including the several dozen that Hamas is demanding in return for Goldin and Shaul's remains, could be perceived as a victory for Hamas, which is why Israel has tried to time the conclusion of the deal around the Eid.

According to the Hamas source, those to be freed include inmates whom Israel freed in 2011 in return for the abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, but then rearrested last summer after the kidnapping and murder of Israeli youths Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah on June 12, 2014. There has been no Israeli confirmation of this claim.

Israel was hoping until the very last moment that the media blackout surrounding Mengistu would help the two sides complete a deal by Eid al-Fitr without additional obstacles. In recent weeks, however, Hamas has been insisting that it is not holding Mengistu and that it knows nothing about his whereabouts, even when it seemed like they were on the verge of a breakthrough on a deal.

Israel was concerned that Hamas was therefore planning to pull out Mengistu as a new bargaining chip after the completion of the Eid deal, demanding in return for him the release of more prisoners and in larger numbers than those exchanged for Goldin and Shaul's remains.

Full report at:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/07/avraham-mengistu-israeli-citizen-gaza-exchange-deal-hamas.html#ixzz3ffpd1KPn

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India:

 

Jehadi forces still a major challenge: Home Minister

Jul 11, 2015

Union Home minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that the problem of ‘Islamic radicalization and Jehadi outfits’ is still a major challenge to the country. Singh stressed about full coordination between state and central govt.’s concerned agencies to meet out challenge.

On the Northeastern states’ security and development review meeting in Guwahati, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi raised about the threat of Jehadi forces and Islamic radicalization to the state. Rajnath Singh said that ‘problem of Islamic radicalization and threat of Jehadi forces’ is only a challenge to one state but it is a challenge to the entire country.

“Islamic radicalization and threat of Jehadi forces is not only a challenge to a particular state but it is a challenge to the entire country. To meet the challenge, both state govt. and central govt. should work in tandem. We are trying our best to meet out the challenge,” said Singh.

Assam chief minister in his address highlighted about the expansion of Islamic radical forces through frontal organization such as Popular Fronts of India (PFI) which are active in communally sensitive areas in the state. The PFI’s activities were noticed in state’s riverine areas which are inhabited areas of immigrant Muslim. PFI’s headquarters is in Kerala in south India.

Gogoi recalled the exposure of JMB (Jamaat-ul-Muzahideen, Bangladesh) module in the state and open threat of Jehadi group such as Al-Qaeda to the state.

In the investigation of NIA (National Investigation Agency) on Burdwan blast in West Bengal last year , it was came to light about the expansion of JMB module to the state’s communally sensitive areas and how a section of boys and girls in immigrant Muslim dominated areas in lower Assam had joined the JMB.

Last year, after Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri issued a threat to countries in Indian sub continent through issuing a video tape and announcing the formation of Indian branch of the terrorist outfit, the Al Qaeda leader mentioned Assam’s name as its one of its target areas.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/jehadi-forces-still-a-major-challenge-rajnath-singh/article1-1368256.aspx

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India, Kyrgyzstan to hold annual joint military exercises

PTI | Jul 12, 2015

BISHKEK: Seeking a peaceful and secure neighbourhood amidst threat of terrorism and extremism, India and Kyrgyzstan on Sunday signed four agreements including one on bolstering defence cooperation and holding annual joint military exercises.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived here on Saturday night as part of his eight-day six-nation tour to Central Asia, emphasised the need to combat terrorism and extremism which he described as a threat without borders.

"We both seek a peaceful and secure neighbourhood at a time of challenges in our region. And, we have shared interest in combating extremism and terrorism that has become a threat without borders," he said following his talks with President Almazbek Atambayev.

The two countries signed four key agreements including on cooperation in defence and culture fields.

Two MoU were also signed for cooperation between the Election Commissions of the two countries and on cooperation in the sphere of Standards, a move that will help economic relations.

Prime Minister Modi underlined that his visit to the countries in the region "demonstrates the importance that we attach to a new level of relationship with Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is a key part of that vision".

Noting that the bilateral defence ties are strong, he said a joint exercise 'Khanjar 2015' has just been completed.

"We have decided to hold joint military exercises on an annual basis," he said.

Modi underlined that the new agreement on defence cooperation would provide a "framework to broaden bilateral engagement" which would also include defence technology.

The defence agreement signed is aimed at deepening bilateral cooperation in defence, security, military education and training.

It also envisages conduct of joint military exercises, exchange of experience and information, and exchange of military observers and instructors besides others.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-Kyrgyzstan-to-hold-annual-joint-military-exercises/articleshow/48040337.cms

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Europe

 

UK courts need to be educated about Islam, says Birmingham Six lawyer

 12 July 2015

A British black-cab driver who was sentenced to 38 years for a murder during the Iraq war should never have been prosecuted, according to the lawyer who helped overturn some of Britain’s most notorious miscarriages of justice.

The trial of Anis Sardar at Woolwich crown court in May is an example of how British justice is prejudiced against Muslim defendants – in the same way it was in the 1970s against Irish Catholics, dozens of whom ended up wrongfully convicted, said human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, who represented the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six.

A jury found Sardar, 38, guilty of the murder of US serviceman Sgt Randy Johnson, who died in Baghdad in 2007 after his vehicle went off-road and hit an improvised explosive device (IED). There was no evidence to connect Sardar to the bomb that killed Johnson, a father of two who lived in Germany, but his fingerprints were on a different type of device that was found in the same suburb of Iraq’s capital city.

Sardar’s account was that he had indeed picked up a homemade bomb when he went to the country with an Iraqi friend, and wrapped tape around it. He said neither he nor the bomb-makers were targeting Americans. At that time, Iraq was engulfed in a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia and the bomb-making Sardar witnessed was by a group of Sunni citizens planning to put them in the path of marauding Shia militias who had been coming into their neighbourhood to abduct and kill civilians. In court, the US army accepted both that its vehicle had been in an area soldiers had not been in for six months, and that it was on a dirt area, not the hard road surface where armoured vehicles travelled, when it hit the IED, making it unlikely Americans were the target.

Peirce said that “extremely powerful potential witnesses”, who would have helped the jury understand the Iraqi conflict, were not allowed anonymity, leaving them afraid to give evidence for fear of reprisals on families still in Iraq.

Sardar is in Belmarsh prison. His wife and two-year-old daughter are in a small terraced house in Wembley, north London, where the living room is his library, wall-to-floor shelves of books of Islamic learning and history, their titles picked out in golden ornate Arabic letters. “He loves his books,” said his wife Sadia with a smile. “He knows a lot about marriage laws, and as far as war is concerned, he believes it is a last resort and innocent people should never be involved.”

His father was a civil servant who had left India for England as a child, so when Sardar decided he wanted to study Arabic he went abroad, to Damascus, in 1997. His eventual mastering of the language was a love-hate struggle of his younger years, but he completed the final year of his degree in England and returned to the UK for good in 2007, marrying, becoming a London cabby and well known in his community for his deep knowledge of Islam, which made him a popular unpaid adviser. “He’s a learned man, an intellect, he wanted to better himself – they are not the characteristics of a terrorist,” said his wife, who believes that the horrors he saw in Iraq traumatised him and made him a quieter, more thoughtful man.

His family are launching a legal appeal and a campaign to clear his name. “We’ve all been so shocked at the conviction, we couldn’t understand how it could happen. Everyone who knows Anis is shocked. I know this is not who he is, he’s a good guy,” said Sadia, adding that their daughter will be 40 by his release.

Peirce said the case should never have been brought to court, and especially to a British court. “We are in a similar place to the IRA trials. If you look at them, it was English juries, English prosecutors and English police proceeding with complete ignorance of culture or religion. If you look at the Birmingham Six, they were seized when they were going to a funeral of an IRA sympathiser, and there was incomprehension that you could have a friend but not be in the IRA yourself, that you might have no money, that you could be Catholic and not be in the IRA, that incomprehension of how a different community worked,” he said.

“Now juries have to be educated about Islam. Anis was in Damascus because that’s where you went to study pure Arabic then. He saw the refugees coming in from Iraq and he went with a friend to try to get his family out. He talks about the situation there, how he saw the dead bodies lying in the street, in the canal, he described people coming out to the morgue at night looking for family members. Those IEDs were found in the exact spot where Shia militia came sweeping into the Sunni villages. He said, ‘I was present.’ It was an honest defence, but without context how could a jury in Woolwich grasp it? This all took place during one of the most disturbing periods of world history, in effect the aftermath of years of illegality and ambiguity where even the Iraqi army itself was a militia under another name.

“This trial proceeded amid complete ignorance, and it was utterly wrong to prosecute and wrong to convict him.”

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/jul/11/uk-courts-anis-sardar-educated-islam-birmingham-six-gareth-peirce

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Italy not ‘intimidated’ by Cairo attack: Minister

July 11, 2015

ROME/CAIRO —  Italy will not be intimidated by the deadly bombing of its consulate in Cairo, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Saturday.

“Bombing against our consulate in Cairo, there are no Italian victims,” Gentiloni tweeted shortly after the attack that left one person dead.

“Our thoughts are with the people affected and with our personnel. Italy will not let itself be intimidated.”

A powerful explosion ripped through the Italian consulate in central Cairo early on Saturday, partly damaging the building and killing one person.

A medic at the scene of the blast in Cairo told an AFP reporter that the casualties were two policemen and three passers-by, but was unable to specify which of them was the person killed.

The consulate in central Cairo was closed at the time of the explosion around 6:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), which brought down the facade of the building and could be heard across the capital.

A health ministry spokesman said the blast killed a civilian and wounded four. Medics had earlier said two policemen and three passers-by had been wounded.

Diplomats had told AFP they had been warned by police months ago that embassies could be targeted, but it was not clear whether this was based on specific intelligence.

At least one Western embassy had relocated over security concerns.

Full report at:

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150712250102

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Africa:

 

Mali makes arrests linked to Islamist attacks: Sources

July 12, 2015

Bamako: The Malian army captured two people linked to Islamist group Ansar Dine and seized evidence linking them to planned attacks, security sources said on Saturday.

Ansar Dine was part of an alliance of Islamist fighters that helped seize Mali`s desert north after a Tuareg uprising in 2012 but was ousted by a French military operation a year later.

The group this week claimed responsibility for a series of recent attacks across Mali`s south and west, including the capital Bamako, formerly deemed safe.

"An army patrol arrested two men in possession of military material and compromising documents," said one of the sources, adding that the men were captured in the central region of Mopti and taken to Bamako.

He said the documents contained a message from Ansar Dine`s Tuareg leader Iyad Ag Ghali to an accomplice in the south about future attacks.

The southern accomplice has not yet been identified, he said, adding that others had been called in for questioning based on the intelligence gathered so far.

A second security source said a total of six people had been detained for questioning, including two women, part of a push to dismantle Ansar Dine`s network.

Armed groups and the Malian government signed a peace agreement in June designed to stop uprisings in the north, but Ansar Dine was not a signatory.  Reuters

http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/mali-makes-arrests-linked-to-islamist-attacks-sources_1628688.html

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UN: Libya Draft Peace Accord Agreed

Jul 12, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- Some of Libya's warring factions have agreed on a framework for a peace deal following months of talks in Morocco, the United Nations said.

Representatives of municipal councils and the UN-backed government based in Tobruk initialled a draft deal stipulating a transitional period for the establishment of a democratic state in the country, Al Jazeerah reported.

The General National Congress (GNC) and its allied Libya Dawn militia were not part of the agreement.

Bernardino Leon, the UN envoy for Libya, said the "door is open to all not present" when he announced the draft accord.

"They have also played a critical role in this text. As I have said many times, there is no text that is entirely satisfactory to all parties and that responds to all their demands... I am confident that in the weeks ahead a clear decision will be made and will address all sides and issues," Leon said.

The UN-brokered deal will provide the rival groups with a framework to live together and begin a transitional period of one year in which they can decide issues including disarmament, control of the country's airports and writing a constitution, our correspondent said.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940421000836

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Tunisia recovers 27 dead migrants

12 July 2015

TUNIS —  Tunisian authorities have recovered 27 corpses of migrants off the Mediterranean Coast who apparently died trying to reach Italy from Libya. Migrant crossings over the Mediterranean toward Europe have continued to mount in recent weeks, but the death toll has been dropping thanks to a renewed EU-coordinated rescue effort. Tunisian security official Mongi Kadhi told The Associated Press that naval and civil protection units found the migrants between July 3-10 off the coast of the cities of Ben Guerdane and Zarzis, close to the Libyan border. He said they appeared to be African migrants. The International Organization for Migration said Friday night that thousands of migrants had been rescued in the last 24 hours in the channel of Sicily, despite strong winds. — AP

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150712250106

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North America

 

Saudi Arabia bans import of US poultry

12 July 2015

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia's Food and Drug Authority has temporarily banned imports of poultry meat and egg products from Nebraska in the US due to the outbreak of avian influenza in the state.

Saudi Arabia bans imports of poultry meat and egg products from the following US states – Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa –  for the outbreak of a HPAI.

In a statement posted on its website, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority said heat-processed poultry meat and egg products, and products treated in any other way that destroys the avian flu virus, are excluded from the temporary ban. — Wam

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20150712250163

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/syrian-fighter-jets-target-isil-leaders--meeting-in-raqqa,-casualties-reported/d/103867


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