New Age Islam
Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:33 AM

Islamic World News ( 26 Jun 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

The End of the Caliphate: ISIS Left Reeling After Fallujah Liberated By Iraqi Army












Photo: Footage shows one of the journalists handcuffed to metal railings, in Deir Ezzor, Syria, with a camera hanging around his neck before the device is apparently detonated

 

ISIS Fanatics Blow Up Journalists by Packing Their Cameras and Laptops

Pak Clerics Issue Fatwa In Favour Of Transgender Marriages

12 'Roza Barracks' For 650 Fasting Muslim Inmates in Sabarmati Central Jail

North African Extremist Group Threatens France, UN in New Video

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Arab World

The End of the Caliphate: ISIS Left Reeling After Fallujah Liberated By Iraqi Army

ISIS Fanatics Blow Up Journalists by Packing Their Cameras and Laptops

Gov't Forces Continue to Advance in Aleppo Province

Syrian Artillery, Missile Units Shell Terrorist Centres in Quneitra

Al-Qaeda-Affiliated Terrorists Suffer Heavy Losses in Clashes with Syrian Soldiers

Terrorists Withdraw from More Positions in Northern Aleppo

Syrian Army, Allies Continue to advance against Terrorist in Eastern Damascus

Isis Claims Responsibility for Suicide Bomb on Jordan's Border

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Pakistan

Pak Clerics Issue Fatwa In Favour Of Transgender Marriages

Pakistan to Consider India’s Request to Probe Pathankot Attack after Eid

Two more hate speech cases lodged against Altaf

Pakistan looks for US lobbyist amid diplomatic challenges

Nisar and Rajnath may meet in August

Pak army chief in Karachi after Amjad Sabri killing

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India

12 'Roza Barracks' For 650 Fasting Muslim Inmates in Sabarmati Central Jail

Aligarh-Born Young Muslim on Bike to Dispel Negativity about Islam

Linking everything to Kashmir is “absurd, unacceptable”: Venkaiah Naidu

Six Hindu Mahasabha activists held in Kairana

Telangana Assembly to pass resolution for 12% Muslim quota: CM Chandrasekhar Rao

'Ashamed As A Muslim' Remark Lands Mehbooba Mufti In Trouble

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Africa

North African Extremist Group Threatens France, UN in New Video

Somali Minister among 15 Killed in Extremist Attack on Hotel

Nigeria: 5,000 rescued from Boko Haram in Borno

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Mideast

Turkey’s Ruling AKP Invites Israel’s Top Diplomat in Ankara to Traditional Iftar

Erdoğan Speaks With Palestinian Leader Abbas on Turkish-Israeli Deal over Gaza: Sources

Turkey deal to have ‘immense’ impact on economy, Israel PM Netanyahu says

Turkey very weak in good governance in public sector

Israeli, Turkish spy chiefs meet before settlement: Report

Investigation into alleged killer of Russian jet pilot reopened in Turkey

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South Asia

5 Militants Blown Up While Planting a Bomb in a Mosque in Paktia

Taliban Leader Qari Ghafoor Killed With His 14 Fighters in Kunduz Airstrike

Top Taliban leader surrenders with his 65 fighters to Gen. Dostum in Faryab

MoD conducts probe as Taliban release pictures of biometric devices

Trained by Punjabis in Peshawar, suicide bomber arrested before attacking Kunar

Bangladesh arrests ‘killer’ of anti-terrorism officer’s wife

Zardari criticize allocation of Rs300 million to pro-Taliban Madrasa

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Southeast Asia

Philippine Leader Says Could be Open to Talks with Islamic Militants

Indonesia tries to steer convicted militants to new lives

Philippine military admits abduction of Indonesians

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Europe

Breitbart’s Milo to Lead Gay Pride March through Swedish Muslim Ghetto

Islamophobia Set to Grow in Balkans, Experts Warn

Muslims in Liverpool: 'We want to re-establish our faith as a peaceful faith'

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North America

Donald Trump Just Changed His Mind on Muslims—You Can Enter America Only If You’re A Scottish Muslim

Orlando Tragedy Can Serve As a Teaching Moment For Muslim Americans

Missiles for Terrorists, But No Guns For Americans

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/the-end-of-the-caliphate--isis-left-reeling-after-fallujah-liberated-by-iraqi-army/d/107779

 

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The end of the caliphate: ISIS left reeling after Fallujah liberated by Iraqi army

JUNE 26, 2016

The ISIS stronghold of Fallujah has fallen, and the organisation’s grip on Syria and Iraq is coming to a close.

ISIS is far from dead, make no mistake about that, but their dream of establishing a caliphate state in Syria and Iraq is rapidly fading.

It took less than two hours for the Iraqi army to eradicate the Islamic State of their last positions in Fallujah.

In January 2014, the city in central Iraq was the first to fall to ISIS forces, and has been a key stronghold for them ever since.

But in May, the Iraqi government announced the beginning of an operation to reclaim Fallujah – and after a month-long battle, they have their city back.

“This is joy for all Iraqis and it’s the right of all Iraqi people to celebrate the retaking of Fallujah,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Monday.

By June 17, the Iraqi army had all but won the battle, but there were still IS fighters remaining in Jolan, a neighbourhood in the city’s north-west.

“It did not take more than two hours for CTS to retake Jolan,” said Sabah al-Noman, spokesman for the Iraqi counter-terrorism service.

Still, it’s not all rosy in Fallujah. ISIS have booby-trapped hundreds of houses with explosives, and it could be a long time until the 84,000 that fled in the last past month are able to return to their city – much of which is in ruins.

What does this mean for ISIS?

Losing Fallujah is another massive blow for the Islamic State, whose primary motivation has been to establish a caliphate state in Iraq and Syria.

At its peak, the organisation controlled a third of each country, but they have lost considerable ground over the past year, with Palmyra reclaimed in March, as well as losing three Syrian cities in the past six weeks.

They’ve now been reduced to just two critical cities – Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

The Iraqi government are currently gearing up for an assault on Mosul, and victory there would all but expel the Islamic State from their country.

Overall, ISIS has lost almost half of the territory it once held in the two countries, and as Col. Steve Warren said, they are on the backfoot.

“This enemy has really suffered a string of defeats on the battlefield,” Warren told a Pentagon briefing. “Nothing they have done in the past few months has really been effective.”

On the back of this, the influx of foreign fighters has dramatically slowed and leaders on the ground are having to deal with a flood of defections.

As ISIS continues to backpedal, this goal of establishing an Islamic state in the region is looking increasingly fanciful, and already we can see the organisation setting its sights on other goals.

Resources and focus are increasingly being shifted towards Libya as a base to project terror across the world. The country is almost a failed state and in complete chaos.

Perched on the other side of the Mediterranean, ISIS see Libya as a launching pad for their new modus operandi: terrorism in Europe.

ISIS is weakened, and losing ground – there is no doubt about that. They seem to have conceded that their lofty dreams of a statelet are no longer realistic, and without the resources, recruitment and ideological importance of that, they’re unlikely to grow to the force many feared.

Still though, this is not the end of ISIS, and however weakened, they will continue to pose an immediate and serious threat for the foreseeable future.

techly.com.au/2016/06/27/end-caliphate-isis-left-reeling-fallujah-liberated-iraqi-army/

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ISIS fanatics blow up journalists by packing their cameras and laptops

JUNE 26, 2016

ISIS fanatics have blown up two journalists after packing their cameras and laptops with explosives in the terror group's latest brutal execution video.

Footage shows one of the journalists handcuffed to metal railings, in Deir Ezzor, Syria, with a camera hanging around his neck before the device is apparently detonated.

Another media activist was executed in the same way but with a laptop while a third was tied to a metal door before being choked with an iron chain.

A fourth journalist has his throat cut by a knife-wielding executioner while a fifth is slaughtered with a 'sharp object' according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

They had reportedly been accused of 'acting against the Islamic state, communicating with outside parties and receiving funds, and other charges'.

The Britain-based Observatory said the five were abducted in October and are believed to have been killed in December over their coverage of events in the eastern Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, half of which is held by ISIS.

The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdurrahman, said news of the detention and killing of the activists was withheld because no bodies had surfaced and the families feared retribution for reporting the deaths.

In the video, an ISIS narrator says the group is facing a media war and warns against reporting to the 'crusaders' and 'enemies of God.' The narrator says journalists who report on ISIS may be targeted, even if they reside in Europe.

Abdurrahman said one of the activists, 28-year-old Sami Jawdat, has been feeding information to the Observatory since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011 and continued to do so after ISIS seized half of Deir el-Zour in 2014.

He said Jawdat had been detained by ISIS on a number of previous occasions.

He said that since learning of the abduction and killing of the activists, his group has told other activists to refrain from taking photos or shooting video in ISIS-held areas.

In the video, each activist explains what he did to report from the area, at times acting it out by shooting pictures or interviewing people in the city's market.

One of the activists says he reports for Al-Jazeera, another says he contributed to the New York-based Human Rights Watch. There was no immediate comment from either on Sunday.

Syria is the third-deadliest country in the world for journalists after Yemen and Iraq, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

At least 95 journalists have been killed in Syria since 2011. Almost no international news organizations send staff to Syria because of kidnappings by militants, who often kill their hostages.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3660965/ISIS-fanatics-blow-journalists-packing-cameras-laptops-explosives-one-choked-iron-chain-knifed-brutal-new-execution-film.html

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Pak clerics issue fatwa in favour of transgender marriages

June 27, 2016

Lahore: At least 50 Pakistani clerics have issued a fatwa stating that transgender marriages are lawful.

The clerics affiliated with the little known Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat issued the religious edict here yesterday.

The fatwa stated that a transgender person having “visible signs of being a male” may marry a woman or a transgender with “visible signs of being a female” and vice versa, Dawn News reported.

The fatwa, however, decreed that a transgender person carrying “visible signs of both genders” may not marry anyone.

It declared that robbing transgender people of their share in inheritance was unlawful and that parents who deprive their transgender children of inheritance were “inviting the wrath of God”.

The clerics called upon the government to take action against such parents.

The decree also dwelt upon societal attitudes towards transgenders.

It went to the extent of terming ‘haraam’ (forbidden) any act intended to “humiliate, insult or tease” transgenders.

The fatwa ended with a word on last rites, declaring that all funeral rituals for a transgender person will be the same as for any other Muslim man or woman.

siasat.com/news/pak-clerics-issue-fatwa-favour-transgender-marriages-978754/

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12 'Roza Barracks' For 650 Fasting Muslim Inmates in Sabarmati Central Jail

Jun 27, 2016

Ahmedabad: Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad is carrying forward 'Mission Sadbhavna', with 12 barracks being designated 'Roza barracks', exclusively for the 650-odd fasting Muslim inmates during the holy month of Ramzan.

Jail officials said that of the 2,700-odd prisoners at Sabarmati Central Jail about 650 Muslim prisoners will be fasting (observing Roza) for the month of Ramzan.

"These inmates are split equally and housed in these 12 'Roza barracks' so that they can observe their fasts and offer Namaz in groups (Jamaat)," said jail superintendent Sunil Joshi.

Joshi said that these inmates will return to their original barracks after Ramzan. "We have done this to facilitate fasting for these prisoners," Joshi said.

According to senior police officials, fasting prisoners would earlier remain in the barracks originally allotted to them.

"They would have 'Sehri' (food eaten before dawn and the day-long fast) and break their fasts after sunset in small groups. Now, the special barracks for Ramzan provides them the facility to fast and follow Taraweeh (congregational prayers) after Iftar (breaking of the fast, in the evening)," said a jail official.

Jail SP Joshi added they have made significant changes to the time-table for tea and food for fasting inmates. "We made a twenty-member committee of fasting prisoners to look after the needs of other fasting prisoners," said Joshi.

"Normally we give inmates tea early in the morning, but for these fasting prisoners we will provide tea before sunrise, in time for Sehri," added Joshi.

Fruits and other food items come to the jail from various NGOs, for the breaking of the fast, is prepared by committee members and supplied to the fasting prisoners before closing time late in the afternoon, said a jail official.

Joshi said prisoners accused in the serial blasts case have been kept in their own high-security barracks, but for Ramzan, they have been temporarily allowed to gather in groups of three or four to offer Namaz after breaking their fast.

"However, there is no relaxation in security measures and strict vigil is being maintained, as is during regular days," Joshi said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/12-roza-barracks-for-650-fasting-Muslim-inmates/articleshow/52932096.cms

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North African extremist group threatens France, UN in new video

JUNE 26, 2016

The head of Ansar Dine extremist group , Iyad Ag Ghaly, has released his first video in 22 months, reiterating threats against France and the United Nations' peacekeeping mission in Mali.

In the footage given to AFP at the weekend, Ag Ghaly singles out a violent protest in Kidal in northeastern Mali in April against French forces and the 12,000-strong peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, as an example of ways to confront "the crusaders' military machine".

The 11-minute clip, delivered in Arabic and the Tuareg language Tamasheq, is Ag Ghaly's first since one posted online on August 5, 2014.

Following rumours over recent months circulating in local media, Ag Ghaly appeared because "he wants to show that he is still alive", an extremist group specialist told AFP.

Mali's vast, desolate north fell under the control of Tuareg-led rebels who allied with groups linked to al-Qaeda in 2012.

They were largely ousted by a French-led operation preceding Barkhane in January 2013, although they have since launched sporadic attacks on security forces from desert hideouts.

Ag Ghaly has not been seen in Mali since January 2013, just before the United States designated his group as a terror organization due to its links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2016/06/27/North-African-extremist-group-threatens-France-UN-in-new-video.html

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Arab World

The end of the caliphate: ISIS left reeling after Fallujah liberated by Iraqi army

JUNE 26, 2016

The ISIS stronghold of Fallujah has fallen, and the organisation’s grip on Syria and Iraq is coming to a close.

ISIS is far from dead, make no mistake about that, but their dream of establishing a caliphate state in Syria and Iraq is rapidly fading.

It took less than two hours for the Iraqi army to eradicate the Islamic State of their last positions in Fallujah.

In January 2014, the city in central Iraq was the first to fall to ISIS forces, and has been a key stronghold for them ever since.

But in May, the Iraqi government announced the beginning of an operation to reclaim Fallujah – and after a month-long battle, they have their city back.

“This is joy for all Iraqis and it’s the right of all Iraqi people to celebrate the retaking of Fallujah,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Monday.

By June 17, the Iraqi army had all but won the battle, but there were still IS fighters remaining in Jolan, a neighbourhood in the city’s north-west.

“It did not take more than two hours for CTS to retake Jolan,” said Sabah al-Noman, spokesman for the Iraqi counter-terrorism service.

Still, it’s not all rosy in Fallujah. ISIS have booby-trapped hundreds of houses with explosives, and it could be a long time until the 84,000 that fled in the last past month are able to return to their city – much of which is in ruins.

What does this mean for ISIS?

Losing Fallujah is another massive blow for the Islamic State, whose primary motivation has been to establish a caliphate state in Iraq and Syria.

At its peak, the organisation controlled a third of each country, but they have lost considerable ground over the past year, with Palmyra reclaimed in March, as well as losing three Syrian cities in the past six weeks.

They’ve now been reduced to just two critical cities – Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

The Iraqi government are currently gearing up for an assault on Mosul, and victory there would all but expel the Islamic State from their country.

Overall, ISIS has lost almost half of the territory it once held in the two countries, and as Col. Steve Warren said, they are on the backfoot.

“This enemy has really suffered a string of defeats on the battlefield,” Warren told a Pentagon briefing. “Nothing they have done in the past few months has really been effective.”

On the back of this, the influx of foreign fighters has dramatically slowed and leaders on the ground are having to deal with a flood of defections.

As ISIS continues to backpedal, this goal of establishing an Islamic state in the region is looking increasingly fanciful, and already we can see the organisation setting its sights on other goals.

Resources and focus are increasingly being shifted towards Libya as a base to project terror across the world. The country is almost a failed state and in complete chaos.

Perched on the other side of the Mediterranean, ISIS see Libya as a launching pad for their new modus operandi: terrorism in Europe.

ISIS is weakened, and losing ground – there is no doubt about that. They seem to have conceded that their lofty dreams of a statelet are no longer realistic, and without the resources, recruitment and ideological importance of that, they’re unlikely to grow to the force many feared.

Still though, this is not the end of ISIS, and however weakened, they will continue to pose an immediate and serious threat for the foreseeable future.

techly.com.au/2016/06/27/end-caliphate-isis-left-reeling-fallujah-liberated-iraqi-army/

--

 

ISIS fanatics blow up journalists by packing their cameras and laptops

JUNE 26, 2016

ISIS fanatics have blown up two journalists after packing their cameras and laptops with explosives in the terror group's latest brutal execution video.

Footage shows one of the journalists handcuffed to metal railings, in Deir Ezzor, Syria, with a camera hanging around his neck before the device is apparently detonated.

Another media activist was executed in the same way but with a laptop while a third was tied to a metal door before being choked with an iron chain.

A fourth journalist has his throat cut by a knife-wielding executioner while a fifth is slaughtered with a 'sharp object' according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

They had reportedly been accused of 'acting against the Islamic state, communicating with outside parties and receiving funds, and other charges'.

The Britain-based Observatory said the five were abducted in October and are believed to have been killed in December over their coverage of events in the eastern Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, half of which is held by ISIS.

The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdurrahman, said news of the detention and killing of the activists was withheld because no bodies had surfaced and the families feared retribution for reporting the deaths.

In the video, an ISIS narrator says the group is facing a media war and warns against reporting to the 'crusaders' and 'enemies of God.' The narrator says journalists who report on ISIS may be targeted, even if they reside in Europe.

Abdurrahman said one of the activists, 28-year-old Sami Jawdat, has been feeding information to the Observatory since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011 and continued to do so after ISIS seized half of Deir el-Zour in 2014.

He said Jawdat had been detained by ISIS on a number of previous occasions.

He said that since learning of the abduction and killing of the activists, his group has told other activists to refrain from taking photos or shooting video in ISIS-held areas.

In the video, each activist explains what he did to report from the area, at times acting it out by shooting pictures or interviewing people in the city's market.

One of the activists says he reports for Al-Jazeera, another says he contributed to the New York-based Human Rights Watch. There was no immediate comment from either on Sunday.

Syria is the third-deadliest country in the world for journalists after Yemen and Iraq, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

At least 95 journalists have been killed in Syria since 2011. Almost no international news organizations send staff to Syria because of kidnappings by militants, who often kill their hostages.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3660965/ISIS-fanatics-blow-journalists-packing-cameras-laptops-explosives-one-choked-iron-chain-knifed-brutal-new-execution-film.html

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Gov't Forces Continue to Advance in Aleppo Province

June 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and their popular allies beat the terrorist groups back from more lands in al-Malaah region in Northern Aleppo and laid siege on a large number of militants in the region.

The Syrian government forces engaged in fierce clashes with the Jeish al-Fatah in Eastern side of Malaah farms and regained control over Arab Salum region, which left several militants dead.   

The Syrian and Russian fighter jets and helicopters, as well as Army artillery units played a crucial role in advances of the Syrian government forces in Malaah farms.

The Turkish-backed Nouriddeen al-Zinki movement said it lost contact with a group of its Afghani fighters who were trapped inside al-Asamat area.

With this recent and significant gain, the Syrian Army is now positioned some 3 km from the terrorists' stronghold of Hraytan to the West.

In relevant developments on Sunday, the Syrian army continued its advances in the Northern part of Aleppo after kicking off a new phase of special military operations there.

The army units advanced in Bani Zeid towards the residential areas in al-Zahra and the surrounding areas of Rasoul Azam Mosque.

The Syrian army inflicted heavy losses on the Takfiri terrorists' military grid and killed scores of them in the early hours of the battle.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950407000236

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Syrian Artillery, Missile Units Shell Terrorist Centers in Quneitra

June 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army's artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at the strongholds of the terrorist groups East and North of Quneitra city, inflicting major damage on their construction machinery and military equipment.

The Syrian army shelled terrorists' positions near the village of Mas'hara 12km to the East of Quneitra city, which ended in destruction of the militants' rocket launching-pads.

Meanwhile, the militant groups' bulldozers, constructing new positions near the village of al-Hamidiyeh in Northern countryside of Quneitra city, came under heavy shelling of the Syrian army. 

In relevant developments earlier this month, the Syrian Army troops repelled the terrorist groups' assaults on their positions, and forced them to retreat from the battlefield after leaving behind over 10 dead members.

The militants stormed the government forces' strongholds in surroundings of the strategic town of al-Ba'ath from the village of al-Hamidiyeh, but the attacks were fended off by the strong defense of the Syrian army men.

The terrorist groups left behind at least 10 dead and many more wounded members and fled the battlefield.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950407000196

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Al-Qaeda-Affiliated Terrorists Suffer Heavy Losses in Clashes with Syrian Soldiers

June 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops' anti-terrorism offensives in Eastern Dara'a inflicted a heavy death toll on the al-Nusra Front, provincial sources said, adding that the clashes meantime slowed down the militants' military movements in the region.

"The Syrian soldiers stormed al-Nusra positions along the road connecting Um al-Mayazen to al-Naimeh, 10km to the East of Dara'a city, which claimed the lives of several terrorists and damaged their military equipment in large scale," the sources said, adding, "The army's attacks cut off the supply line of the militants for several hours."

Also on Thursday, dozens of al-Nusra Front terrorists were killed during the Syrian Army’s operations in Dara'a al-Balad area in the Southern Dara'a province.

“The Syria Army destroyed two al-Nusra positions and inflicted dozens of casualties on the terrorist group in a chase operation in Dara'a al-Balad area in the Southern Dara'a province,” the source said.

The army troops have been engaged in heavy fighting with the terrorists of al-Nusra Front in Southern Dara'a near the border with Jordan since Wednesday, taking a heavy toll from the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants.

The army soldiers struck the positions of al-Nusra in the Eastern side of al-Naima town, killing at least 11 terrorists and wounding many more.

Al-Nusra's military equipment also sustained major damage in the attacks.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950407000167

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Terrorists Withdraw from More Positions in Northern Aleppo

June 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian military forces struck the strongholds of the terrorist groups in Northern Aleppo and pushed them back from more farms after hours of non-stop clashes.

The Syrian soldiers alongside National Defense Forces and their Palestinian allies broke through the militant groups' defense lines and seized the Eastern farms of al-Malaah, which not only left scores of the militants dead or wounded but destroyed their military hardware.

The Syrian army men also killed an estimated 15 enemy combatants while capturing the Northern farms of al-Malaah.

The Russian fighter jets played a key role in advances of the Syrian army troops in the battlefront.

In relevant developments on Sunday, the Syrian army continued its advances in the Northern part of Aleppo after kicking off a new phase of special military operations there.

The army units advanced in Bani Zeid towards the residential areas in al-Zahra and the surrounding areas of Rasoul Azam Mosque.

The Syrian army inflicted heavy losses on the Takfiri terrorists' military grid and killed scores of them in the early hours of the battle.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950407000151

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Syrian Army, Allies Continue to advance against Terrorist in Eastern Damascus

June 27, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters have jointly launched a fresh round of offensives against the positions of Jeish al-Islam terrorists in Eastern Ghouta, entering a key village in the region, military sources said.

"The Syrian soldiers and Hezbollah entered Mayda’a from its Northwestern side and forced the militants to retreat towards the village's center," the sources said, adding, "Fierce clashes are underway in the village."

Mayda’a is close to Jeish al-Islam’s main supply route in the East Ghouta.

In relevant developments in the province on Sunday, the Syrian army foiled an attempt by the Takfiri terrorists to seize back their lost military positions outside the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.

The Jeish al-Islam terrorists launched a large-scale assault outside the city of Douma to recapture the positions that they lost to the Syrian army, but they were pushed back.

"The Takfiri terrorists used a tunnel to sneak into the Syrian Amy's defense lines in the Eastern part of Douma, but to no avail because the Syrian army pushed them back," sources said.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950407000124

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ISIS CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUICIDE BOMB ON JORDAN'S BORDER

JUNE 26, 2016

The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) claimed responsibility Monday for the suicide bomb attack on a Jordanian military post last week that left seven members of the country’s security services dead.

The device detonated outside a Syrian refugee camp in Rukban on the Syrian border in northeast Jordan, a predominantly desert area. The location is a few miles from where the borders of Jordan, Iraq and Syria converge.

No group initially claimed responsibility for the attack but on Monday ISIS posted a video purporting to show the suicide blast in a Facebook post on its semi-official Amaq news agency, the same channel that claimed the Paris, Brussels and Orlando attacks.

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The video shows a vehicle speeding towards a base in the desert area before it explodes and a cloud of black smoke follows. Amaq posted a statement that said a “source” had informed it that the suicide mission “was carried out by one of the fighters of the Islamic State,” calling the base “American-Jordan.”

Jordan has conducted a series of raids over the past year to root out ISIS militants inside the country who planned to carry out attacks on civilian and military sites on Jordanian territory.

After the blast, Amman has promised to be even tougher against the radical Islamist group. It has already sealed the border where the blast took place, leaving thousands of Syrian refugees hoping to enter the country stranded. The military has said that it will “eliminate” ISIS.

The Hala Akhbar website, linked to the Jordan military, published a statement from what was claimed to be an official military source on Monday after the ISIS development.

"Jordanians need to know they are being targeted by these dark criminals, and the means used by this terrorist organization show its criminality and brutality. It will not affect Jordan's determination to eliminate it,” the statement read. “The fate of this gang is either Jordanian jail or being killed.”

newsweek.com/isis-responsibility-suicide-bomb-jordan-syria-border-474766

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Pakistan

Pak clerics issue fatwa in favour of transgender marriages

June 27, 2016

Lahore: At least 50 Pakistani clerics have issued a fatwa stating that transgender marriages are lawful.

The clerics affiliated with the little known Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat issued the religious edict here yesterday.

The fatwa stated that a transgender person having “visible signs of being a male” may marry a woman or a transgender with “visible signs of being a female” and vice versa, Dawn News reported.

The fatwa, however, decreed that a transgender person carrying “visible signs of both genders” may not marry anyone.

It declared that robbing transgender people of their share in inheritance was unlawful and that parents who deprive their transgender children of inheritance were “inviting the wrath of God”.

The clerics called upon the government to take action against such parents.

The decree also dwelt upon societal attitudes towards transgenders.

It went to the extent of terming ‘haraam’ (forbidden) any act intended to “humiliate, insult or tease” transgenders.

The fatwa ended with a word on last rites, declaring that all funeral rituals for a transgender person will be the same as for any other Muslim man or woman.

siasat.com/news/pak-clerics-issue-fatwa-favour-transgender-marriages-978754/

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Pakistan to consider India’s request to probe Pathankot attack after Eid

June 27, 2016

Islamabad: The Pakistan government has said that it will decide whether or not to allow Indian investigators to visit the country in connection with their probe into a deadly terror attack on an Indian airbase after Eid-ul-Fitr.

On January 2, 2016, a heavily armed group attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the India’s Western Air Command, killing six Indian security personnel.

New Delhi has blamed Pakistan-based jihadi group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) for orchestrating the brutal assault.

A high-level meeting to be attended by top civil and military officials will be convened by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after he returns from London to discuss an India’s request for a visit by its investigators and issues related to bilateral dialogue between the two neighbours, reports the Express Tribune.

The Express Tribune has quoted a senior official, who is part of the government’s core team dealing with India, that the meeting would decide whether to allow a team from India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) to travel to Pakistan for carrying forward the probe into the Pathankot attack.

A five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan had visited India between March 27 and 31 to collect evidence with regard to the attack.

The team comprising officials from police and intelligence agencies had met officials from National Investigation Agency in New Delhi and had also been given access to the Pathankot airbase where the attack took place.

Islamabad, however, contended that its investigators were given limited access as they were not allowed to meet eyewitnesses.

New Delhi, in return requested Pakistan to allow its investigators to visit the country to question alleged masterminds of the attack including JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar and his brother.

So far, Pakistan has not officially responded to the Indian request.

One of the reasons behind the government’s reluctance has been reported that it thinks India may use the visit to ridicule Pakistan.

“We will take the final decision after Eid,” the Express Tribune quoted an official as saying.

The official on being asked about the prospects of resumption of the bilateral dialogue said India appears to be ‘hiding behind the Pathankot incident.’

The Pathankot attack led to the cancellation of crucial foreign secretary-level talks, which were to take place in mid-January.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj last week at a news conference in New Delhi said that foreign secretary-level talks were not cancelled but New Delhi is only awaiting probe from Pakistan side on the Pathankot attack.

Though the prospects of resumption of talks at present are at grim, officials are hoping that the both nations will eventually return to the negotiating table before the next Saarc summit scheduled to be hosted by Pakistan in November this year.

siasat.com/news/pakistan-consider-indias-request-probe-pathankot-attack-eid-978757/

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Two more hate speech cases lodged against Altaf

June 27, 2016

HYDERABAD: Two hate speech cases against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) supremo Altaf Hussain were registered late on Saturday evening following his telephonic address to party workers over phone from London.

The Fort police registered an FIR (29/2016) on the complaint of Mohammad Shafiq Meo, an activist of the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek (PST) under Pakistan Penal Code sections relating to the condemnation of creation of the state and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty, as well as Section 6/7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act for threatening national security during his speech made on June 18.

The complainant stated in his plea that he was going for shopping to Shahi Bazaar from Pucca Qila Chowk when he heard Altaf Hussain, speaking over phone to his party workers.

The complainant stated that Mr Hussain was telling his workers that law-enforcement agencies had attacked and looted Mohajirs on June 19,1992 and that the army did not play any role in the creation of the country. He said Mr Hussain also criticised the army and police.

The other FIR was registered at the Tando Adam police station on the complaint of Mazhar Chandio, a resident of the town, under the same sections of the PPC and ATA, in respect of Mr Hussain’s same address which was listened by his party workers at Jugno Hall in the town, our Sanghar correspondent adds.

dawn.com/news/1267454/two-more-hate-speech-cases-lodged-against-altaf

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Pakistan looks for US lobbyist amid diplomatic challenges

June 27, 2016

WASHINGTON: Two recent diplomatic disasters — the US refusal to subsidise an F-16 deal and the Obama administration’s campaign to induct India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) — have forced Pakistan to look for a paid lobbyist in the US capital.

Pakistan Embassy spokesman Nadeem Hotiana confirmed to Dawn that the country was now looking for a lobbyist “but has not yet taken any decision”.

US Justice Department record shows that the last law firm to lobby for Pakistan in Washington was Locke Lord Strategies. Pakistan failed to renew its contract with the firm in July 2013, about a month after the PML-N replaced PPP in the government in Islamabad.

The embassy was paying $75,000 per month to this group, which is the lobbying arm of the law firm Locke Lord.

Examine: Who is to blame for slipping Pak-US ties?

PPP hired Locke Lord mainly because one of its partners, Mark Siegel, was a personal friend of the late prime minister Benazir Bhutto. But embassy officials, even during the PPP rule, often felt that the firm was doing little to promote Pakistan’s interests in Washington.

Pakistan’s main expectation from the firm was to promote its interests on Capitol Hill, where it often has to face angry lawmakers every time an issue related to the country is discussed. But the firm had little influence on the Hill.

It proved equally ineffective in lobbying the US media for Pakistan. There were occasions when the embassy’s press section managed to gather more senior journalists than did the firm for official briefings and for group or individual meetings with visiting Pakistani leaders.

To be fair to Locke Lord, some of the issues it had to deal with during this period (2008-13) were beyond its control.

Even the most influential lobbyists would have found it impossible to plead Pakistan’s case on the Hill, in the media or in Washington’s power corridors after Osama bin Laden’s discovery in Abbottabad.

Yet, there were other issues on which the firm could do better but it did not. This bitter experience — and financial problems — forced Pakistan to let its contract with Locke Lord expire. Instead of hiring a new lobbyist, the PML-N government decided to use Pakistani diplomats for the job.

End to Afghan crisis

For the first year and a half, Pakistani diplomats did a decent job but then relations between the two countries began to deteriorate. The Obama administration, which was close to completing its final term, wanted some arrangement in Kabul that would allow it to say that it successfully ended America’s longest, and the costliest, foreign war.

US officials and lawmakers — often encouraged by Islamabad’s claims — believed that the Pakistanis had enough influence to get them the closure they wanted.

By the time Pakistani officials started publicly acknowledging that they can try but cannot force the Taliban to join the reconciliation process, it was already too late. The general perception in Washington, particularly on the Hill, was that Pakistan was not sincere to the United States.

The Americans believed that Pakistan feared India’s increasing influence in Afghanistan and that’s why it was not severing its ties with the so-called good Taliban, particularly the Haqqani network.

There was little Pakistani diplomats could do to remove such doubts and suspicions. Only the change that the Americans were demanding could have salvaged the F-16 deal. But diplomats could do little to make it happen.

Even more difficult was to convince Washington not to push for inducting India into the NSG, as this policy was linked to America’s own interests: countering the growing Chinese influence in Asia and the desire to sell US nuclear technology to New Delhi.

Diplomatic observers in Washington say that in these circumstances, even the best lobbyist could only try to improve Pakistan’s image, particularly on the Hill, but cannot promise to deliver.

“So Pakistan must think carefully before hiring a new lobbyist, as it costs money and a lot of it,” said one observer.

Besides the monthly payment, the lobbyists also charge hefty amounts for their lobbying efforts. Locke Lord earned about $4.5 million while representing the country, according to the US Justice Department records, and takes credit for the passage of the $7.5 billion KLB aid package to Pakistan in 2009.

Besides Mr Siegel, Pakistan’s lobby team at one point included Harriet Miers, a former White House counsel under President George W. Bush.

Several top firms have lobbied for the Pakistani government over the years.

Cassidy & Associates represented Pakistan for a time, but opted out in 2007 after then president Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in the country.

Lobbyists say that it is not only the strains in US-Pakistan relations that make it difficult to lobby for Pakistan. They argue that major power players in Pakistan — the civilian government, the military and the intelligence — are all to be satisfied which is a tough job.

dawn.com/news/1267486/pakistan-looks-for-us-lobbyist-amid-diplomatic-challenges

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Nisar and Rajnath may meet in August

June 27, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The interior ministers of Pakistan and India are expected to meet on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) conference scheduled to be held in the federal capital in the first week of August.

If materialised, it will be the first meeting between Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Media reports say New Delhi has indicated that an Indian delegation will take part in the conference. But Islamabad has not received any formal assurance from the Indian government so far.

The conference will be attended by interior ministers and other delegates from Saarc member states.

A meeting between the interior secretaries of the two countries is also likely during the three-day event.

Many attempts have been made in the past to stabilise fragile relations between Pakistan and India but all such efforts have been thwarted by untoward incidents that always cause a breach between the two countries.

In 2008 the two countries established a joint anti-terrorism mechanism (JATM) to enhance cooperation between their premier investigation agencies to control cross-border terrorism, illegal immigration and influx of fake currency.

They took the decision during two-day talks held between their interior secretaries under the composite dialogue process.

Under the mechanism, a committee comprising additional secretaries of foreign affairs of the two countries was formed.

The committee members, with the consent of their governments, were to exchange relevant information about terrorists.

The formation of the JATM was seen as a major step towards an improvement in relations between the two countries as it has been observed that they usually blame each other when a terrorist attack takes place in their territories.

But the JATM could not be implemented because of instable relations between the two countries.

Recently, Jan 2’s Pathankot attack has again spoiled the efforts for normalising bilateral relations.

During the incident, a heavily armed group of assailants struck the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the western air command of the Indian Air Force.

Five attackers and six personnel of security forces were killed.

Media reports suggested that the attack was an attempt to derail the fragile peace process aimed at improving bilateral relations as several pieces of evidence were found linking the attackers to Pakistan.

dawn.com/news/1267495/nisar-and-rajnath-may-meet-in-august

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Pak army chief in Karachi after Amjad Sabri killing

June 27, 2016

Karachi: Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif today flew into Karachi to chair a high-level meeting during which he promised to “leave no stone unturned” to nab the killers of noted Sufi singer Amjad Sabri and rid the city of crime and terrorism.

The army chief chaired a high-level briefing at Rangers Headquarters here in which he directed all commanders to focus on the entire network of terrorists, their abettors and financiers, and continue the clean-up in Karachi until peace is restored to the city.

“No stone would be left unturned to nab those behind the killing of Sabri,” Sharif said.

The army chief visited the city after a week of terror incidents rocked Karachi and spread fear among the people.

His visit comes after the high-profile kidnapping of advocate Owais Shah, son of the Sindh High Court Chief Justice, and the targeted killing of Sabri who was gunned down last week by unidentified motorcyclists in an attack claimed by a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban.

In other incidents, two well-known religious figures also came under attack in Karachi but escaped unhurt.

The incidents raised serious questions over the efficiency of the Rangers-led operation since 2013 in Karachi.

Sharif was briefed in detail by Director General (DG) Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar on the paramilitary force’s ongoing operation, the law and order situation and the way forward for Karachi during the meeting.

Referring to recent incidents, the army chief directed all commanders, including those of intelligence agencies, to continue working hand-in-glove, leaving no stone unturned finding the perpetrators.

Official data also shows a sharp rise in crime recently indicating renewed activities of armed groups and individuals in the city despite ongoing Rangers-led operation.

Karachi, Pakistan’s economic hub and biggest city, has for years been a hotbed for criminals, gangsters and militants who are involved in kidnapping for ransom, targeted killings, sectarian violence, terrorism and bank robberies.

Street crime remains one of the biggest problems here despite the paramilitary rangers and police carrying out a clean-up operation since September, 2013.

siasat.com/news/pak-army-chief-karachi-amjad-sabri-killing-978606/

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India

12 'Roza Barracks' For 650 Fasting Muslim Inmates in Sabarmati Central Jail

Jun 27, 2016

Ahmedabad: Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad is carrying forward 'Mission Sadbhavna', with 12 barracks being designated 'Roza barracks', exclusively for the 650-odd fasting Muslim inmates during the holy month of Ramzan.

Jail officials said that of the 2,700-odd prisoners at Sabarmati Central Jail about 650 Muslim prisoners will be fasting (observing Roza) for the month of Ramzan.

"These inmates are split equally and housed in these 12 'Roza barracks' so that they can observe their fasts and offer Namaz in groups (Jamaat)," said jail superintendent Sunil Joshi.

Joshi said that these inmates will return to their original barracks after Ramzan. "We have done this to facilitate fasting for these prisoners," Joshi said.

According to senior police officials, fasting prisoners would earlier remain in the barracks originally allotted to them.

"They would have 'Sehri' (food eaten before dawn and the day-long fast) and break their fasts after sunset in small groups. Now, the special barracks for Ramzan provides them the facility to fast and follow Taraweeh (congregational prayers) after Iftar (breaking of the fast, in the evening)," said a jail official.

Jail SP Joshi added they have made significant changes to the time-table for tea and food for fasting inmates. "We made a twenty-member committee of fasting prisoners to look after the needs of other fasting prisoners," said Joshi.

"Normally we give inmates tea early in the morning, but for these fasting prisoners we will provide tea before sunrise, in time for Sehri," added Joshi.

Fruits and other food items come to the jail from various NGOs, for the breaking of the fast, is prepared by committee members and supplied to the fasting prisoners before closing time late in the afternoon, said a jail official.

Joshi said prisoners accused in the serial blasts case have been kept in their own high-security barracks, but for Ramzan, they have been temporarily allowed to gather in groups of three or four to offer Namaz after breaking their fast.

"However, there is no relaxation in security measures and strict vigil is being maintained, as is during regular days," Joshi said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/12-roza-barracks-for-650-fasting-Muslim-inmates/articleshow/52932096.cms

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Aligarh-Born Young Muslim on Bike to Dispel Negativity about Islam

Jun 27, 2016

Lucknow: It was not just the throttle of his bike or the enamour of discovering incredible India that got 28-year- old Ali Mehndi set off on a lone bike journey across the country in March.

For the Aligarh-born young Muslim, it was a dire need to dispel confusions, inhibitions and negative perceptions linked to Muslims and Islam. A road trip, he thought, would be the best option to reach his goal.

Feeling like a new-age Ibn-e-Battuta, Mehndi reached Lucknow on Sunday after covering 21 states on the current leg of his journey. He will combine experiences he has shot over the country into a collaborated documentary. As part of his journey, Mehndi updates his Facebook page 'Musafir Diary', getting appreciation from his followers in every city.

"A lot of my friends and biking acquaintances had inhibitions about riding in a long journey with me due to the fact that I am a Muslim. They felt that riding with a Muslim will not be safe. So, I took a solo journey and my experience so far has only been in contrast with their judgements," said Mehndi.

Starting from Aligarh on March 27, Mehndi took the western coastal route to go down south, moving towards the north east, along the Bangladesh border, into Bhutan. Now in Uttar Pradesh, he will go up north.

"At Bodh Gaya, a woman from Bengaluru was shocked to see a Muslim at the Mahabodhi temple before she asked me to click a photograph of hers. In Sikkim, people were surprised to learn that even Muslims travel and take such road trips. But in all such places, people were more than open to take me in their culture and lives," said Mehndi.

"In Imphal, I was invited to stay over in a church when I reached there late at night," he added.

His long beard and his name are the first steps to starting a conversation, he said.

"I deliberately did not take a GPS system with me. Everywhere that I stop to ask for directions, people ask me my name and conversations ensue without any apprehension, against the popular negativity. In fact, people take down my details and open their homes and networks for me to," he said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Musafir-on-bike-on-to-dispel-negativity-about-Islam/articleshow/52930746.cms

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Linking everything to Kashmir is “absurd, unacceptable”: Venkaiah Naidu

June 27, 2016

New Delhi: Asserting that Kashmir is an integral part of India, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said trying to make it a controversy time and again would not help improve bilateral ties between India and Pakistan.

Naidu said there is no question of India bargaining on the issue of Kashmir.

“You want to discuss, clear your doubts any number of times, one can have discussion and also clear their (Pakistan’s) doubts. But trying to make it a controversy time and again is not going to help to improve the relationship,” Naidu said.

“Terrorism is the enemy of the mankind. It should be curbed. And then, Pakistan also sometimes laments, saying they are also becoming the victims of terrorism. You are encouraging terrorists on one hand, and then, you are lamenting about terrorism on the other hand. So, let Pakistan realize and see that such forces are crushed down in Pakistan,” he added.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said India looks forward to friendly ties with Pakistan and is taking effective steps to achieve the same.

“Pakistan is our neighbour. We are always trying to hope for better relations and we are taking every step. The Prime Minister himself went to Pakistan.he invited the Pakistan Prime Minister to come for the swearing-in-ceremony. Steps are being taken. We have again restarted the dialogue process,” said Naidu.

“In spite of all that, if elements in Pakistan go on doing like this training, abetting and funding terrorism, this is not going to help the situation. Pakistan should give it up once and for all,” he added.

Naidu, however, avoided commenting on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s alleged remark that she is “ashamed as a Muslim”.

“I am happy certain clergies and leaders of the Muslim community in India have condemned it and also given a call. That’s a healthy trend. Every religion should come out openly and condemn these barbaric activities of terrorism,” he told the media here.

The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister has come under sharp criticism of the National Conference over her “ashamed of bloodshed in name of Islam during Ramzan” remark.

“I am unable to understand how somebody can indulge in such shameful acts of bloodshed in the name of Islam, and that too in the holy month of Ramzan when people seek forgiveness and peace,” Mehbooba said after laying floral wreath on the coffins of the CRPF personnel killed in Pampore, Jammu and Kashmir, yesterday.

Meanwhile, Naidu also condemned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s remark asking to focus on the Iftaar Party that was going on in the Pakistan High Commission rather than the Pampore attack.

“The comment made by the High Commissioner of Pakistan. I thought later he will realize it, but unfortunately he has not done it. The comment that was made let us focus on party that was completely insensitive,” Naidu said.

The Pakistan High Commissioner earlier on Saturday shrugged off the question on the attack, asking to rather focus on the Iftaar Party that was going on in the Pakistan High Commission.

“It’s the month of Ramzaan, let’s focus on this Iftaar party. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed issue between India and Pakistan. It’s an issue which needs to be solved. We hope we will sit and discuss on the issue and find a solution. Let’s have the iftaar party and enjoy ourselves,” Basit told the media.

siasat.com/news/linking-everything-kashmir-absurd-unacceptable-venkaiah-naidu-978771/

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Six Hindu Mahasabha activists held in Kairana

June 27, 2016

Muzaffarnagar: Six Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha activists were arrested for violating prohibitory orders in Kairana village in Shamli district.

The incident occurred yesterday when six activists, including Hindu Mahasabha national general secretary Puja Shagun Pandey, state president Ghanendrapal, state vice-president Sachin Sharma and Aligarh divisional president Jaivir Singh, reached Kairana village to take stock of the alleged migration of Hindus from the western part of the town, Superintendent of Police Vijay Bhushan said.

The activists were later released on personal bonds by the sub-divisional magistrate court here.

National Human Rights Commission had issued a notice to the government of Uttar Pradesh on June 10 over several families leaving their homes in Kairana town in Western Uttar Pradesh due to alleged fear of criminals.

While observing that the allegations made were serious in nature, the NHRC also directed the state’s DIG (Investigation) on June 13 to depute a team of officers for a spot enquiry in the matter covering all the allegations made in the complaint and submit a report within two weeks.

siasat.com/news/six-hindu-mahasabha-activists-held-kairana-978698/

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Telangana Assembly to pass resolution for 12% Muslim quota: CM Chandrasekhar Rao

June 26, 2016

Telangana government will convene a special session of Legislative Assembly to pass a resolution granting 12 per cent reservation to Muslims and will send it to Central government, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Sunday.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), headed by Rao, had promised during the elections that Muslims will be provided 12 per cent reservation in proportion to their population.

“I had promised 12 per cent reservation for Muslims. ‘Main baat kahata hoon toh barkarar rahata hoon yeh aap tamaam janate hain’ (You all know that I don’t deviate from what I say).

“A committee has been set up which will shortly submit its report (on reservation) and the moment the report is submitted a special session of Assembly will be called and a resolution will be passed which will be sent directly to Central government…I am fully hopeful that we will succeed in this,” Rao said.Telangana government will convene a special session of Legislative Assembly to pass a resolution granting 12 per cent reservation to Muslims and will send it to Central government, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Sunday.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), headed by Rao, had promised during the elections that Muslims will be provided 12 per cent reservation in proportion to their population.

“I had promised 12 per cent reservation for Muslims. ‘Main baat kahata hoon toh barkarar rahata hoon yeh aap tamaam janate hain’ (You all know that I don’t deviate from what I say).

“A committee has been set up which will shortly submit its report (on reservation) and the moment the report is submitted a special session of Assembly will be called and a resolution will be passed which will be sent directly to Central government…I am fully hopeful that we will succeed in this,” Rao said.

The CM hosted an ‘Iftar’ party at Nizam College grounds here as part of ‘Dawat-e-Iftars’ being organised for Muslims across the state in the holy month of Ramadan.

The state government had constituted the panel to study the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims in Telangana.

Rao further said that a total of 120 minorities residential schools will be started this month across Telangana at the cost of Rs 3,900 crore.

“Telangana government made budget allocation of Rs 1,200 crore for Minority Welfare Department, the highest by any state government in the country,” he claimed.

Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya, Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mahmood Ali, AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi were also present on the occasion.

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/telangana-assembly-to-pass-resolution-for-12-per-cent-muslim-quota-cm-chandrasekhar-rao-2877760/

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'Ashamed As A Muslim' Remark Lands Mehbooba Mufti In Trouble

June 26, 2016

Opposition National Conference today attacked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti over her alleged remark where she said she is "ashamed as a Muslim".

NC spokesperson Junaid Mattu claimed that Mehbooba Mufti while speaking to reporters after the wreath laying ceremony for the CRPF personnel martyred in Pampore has said that "she was ashamed as a Muslim over the attack."

"This is the same Mehbooba Mufti who used to say that terror has no religion. Now suddenly she sees terror as an offshoot of Islam for which Muslims should be ashamed. This is shameful coming from a Chief Minister," Mr Mattu said.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah in a tweet said, "So Mehbooba Mufti has joined the "Islamic terror" bandwagon after spending years saying terror had no religion."

"Nothing can be achieved by this.... We are only defaming Kashmir and the state by these acts. We also deal a setback to the religion we practice," Ms Mehbooba Mufti had told reporters today after laying floral wreath on the coffins of the CRPF personnel killed in Pampore yesterday.

Condemning the dastardly attack on the CRPF convoy, the NC spokesperson expressed solidarity with the families of the martyred policemen saying violence in any form is condemnable and unacceptable.

"While our hearts go out to the families of the martyred CRPF personnel, we are shocked at the Chief Minister's continued desperation to jump on the Islamic terror bandwagon. One wonders what her compulsions are but this is tragic. She's either still trying to prove her loyalty to the RSS and VHP or she has pledged to assail Muslim societies, Muslim countries and Islam as a convenient medium of political empowerment," Mr Mattu alleged, adding Ms Mehbooba Mufti's comment was "despicable and highly condemnable."

ndtv.com/india-news/national-conference-attacks-mehbooba-mufti-over-ashamed-as-a-muslim-remark-1423651

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Africa

North African extremist group threatens France, UN in new video

JUNE 26, 2016

The head of Ansar Dine extremist group , Iyad Ag Ghaly, has released his first video in 22 months, reiterating threats against France and the United Nations' peacekeeping mission in Mali.

In the footage given to AFP at the weekend, Ag Ghaly singles out a violent protest in Kidal in northeastern Mali in April against French forces and the 12,000-strong peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, as an example of ways to confront "the crusaders' military machine".

The 11-minute clip, delivered in Arabic and the Tuareg language Tamasheq, is Ag Ghaly's first since one posted online on August 5, 2014.

Following rumours over recent months circulating in local media, Ag Ghaly appeared because "he wants to show that he is still alive", an extremist group specialist told AFP.

Mali's vast, desolate north fell under the control of Tuareg-led rebels who allied with groups linked to al-Qaeda in 2012.

They were largely ousted by a French-led operation preceding Barkhane in January 2013, although they have since launched sporadic attacks on security forces from desert hideouts.

Ag Ghaly has not been seen in Mali since January 2013, just before the United States designated his group as a terror organization due to its links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2016/06/27/North-African-extremist-group-threatens-France-UN-in-new-video.html

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Somali Minister Among 15 Killed in Extremist Attack on Hotel

JUNE 26, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A Somali Cabinet minister is among the 15 killed in an Islamic extremist attack on a hotel in the capital, police say.

Four attackers also died in the assault which was claimed by al-Shabab, Somalia's militant rebels who are allied to al-Qaida.

State Minister for the Environment, Buri Hamza, was among those killed, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer. Hamza died when his hotel room collapsed Saturday because of the powerful car bomb which extremists used to blast their way into the Nasa-Hablod Hotel.

At least 34 people were injured, according to police and hospital sources.

It's the second attack on a hotel since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in early June. Both attacks have been claimed by al-Shabab.

The attacks have raised concerns about the security of hotels in the seaside capital which has seen numerous attacks by al-Shabab in recent years.

"The trend and lethality of such attacks suggest how vulnerable the security of hotels and the city in general are now," said Mohamed Sheikh Abdi, a Somali political analyst.

"Many residents now shun going to hotels that provide some of the few sources of entertainment available in Mogadishu," he said. At hotels, patrons smoke shisha (tobacco) in water pipes, enjoy dance music and play games such as dominoes and dice.

Mogadishu resident Ahmed Ali said that he has stopped going to hotels as they are seen as "death traps because they are favorite targets for al-Shabab ... Having fun at hotels is good but my safety comes first."

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attacks in a statement Sunday.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attacks in a statement Sunday.

nytimes.com/aponline/2016/06/26/world/africa/ap-af-somalia-hotel-attack.html

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Nigeria: 5,000 rescued from Boko Haram in Borno

27th June 2016

The Nigerian army says it has rescued more than 5,000 people who were being held hostage by Boko Haram following a clearing operation in four remote villages in the northeastern Borno state.

"Our troops have decisively dealt with the Boko Haram terrorists, particularly hibernating in Sambisa forest, which used to be their stronghold," Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, army spokesman, told Al Jazeera on Sunday.

The soldiers evacuated the villages of Zangebe, Maiwa, Algaiti and Mainari, the army said in a statement .

The fighting led to the killing of one civilian and six Boko Haram fighters, it added.

The 5,000 rescued, mostly women and children, had been living under Boko Haram for more than six years, since the armed group launched its violent campaign in 2009.

The army also reported that two other Boko Haram fighters were killed in a separate mission to 11 villages in Borno.

Boko Haram pledged support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) last year.

The Nigeria-based group's armed campaign, which has spread into neighbouring countries, has killed more than 20,000 people and driven some 2.5 million from their homes.

Under President Muhammadu Buhari's command and aided by Nigeria's neighbours, the army has recaptured most of the territory seized by Boko Haram - but the armed group still regularly stages attacks.

Last month, Nigeria hosted regional and western powers to discuss ways to defeat the group.

aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/nigeria-5000-rescued-boko-haram-borno-160626094621430.html

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Somali Minister Among 15 Killed in Extremist Attack on Hotel

JUNE 26, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A Somali Cabinet minister is among the 15 killed in an Islamic extremist attack on a hotel in the capital, police say.

Four attackers also died in the assault which was claimed by al-Shabab, Somalia's militant rebels who are allied to al-Qaida.

State Minister for the Environment, Buri Hamza, was among those killed, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer. Hamza died when his hotel room collapsed Saturday because of the powerful car bomb which extremists used to blast their way into the Nasa-Hablod Hotel.

At least 34 people were injured, according to police and hospital sources.

It's the second attack on a hotel since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in early June. Both attacks have been claimed by al-Shabab.

The attacks have raised concerns about the security of hotels in the seaside capital which has seen numerous attacks by al-Shabab in recent years.

"The trend and lethality of such attacks suggest how vulnerable the security of hotels and the city in general are now," said Mohamed Sheikh Abdi, a Somali political analyst.

"Many residents now shun going to hotels that provide some of the few sources of entertainment available in Mogadishu," he said. At hotels, patrons smoke shisha (tobacco) in water pipes, enjoy dance music and play games such as dominoes and dice.

Mogadishu resident Ahmed Ali said that he has stopped going to hotels as they are seen as "death traps because they are favorite targets for al-Shabab ... Having fun at hotels is good but my safety comes first."

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attacks in a statement Sunday.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attacks in a statement Sunday.

nytimes.com/aponline/2016/06/26/world/africa/ap-af-somalia-hotel-attack.html

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Mideast

Turkey’s ruling AKP invites Israel’s top diplomat in Ankara to traditional iftar

June 27 2016

Turkey’s ruling AKP invites Israel’s top diplomat in Ankara to traditional iftar

In yet another show of improving diplomatic relations, Turkey’s ruling party has invited Israel’s top diplomat based in Ankara to a traditional iftar (fast-breaking) dinner to be hosted for the diplomatic community in the capital city.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has extended an invitation to the embassy’s chargé d’affaires, Amira Oron, for the iftar to be hosted on June 27, Hürriyet Daily News learned from reliable sources.

Oron accepted the invitation and will attend the iftar, officials from the Israeli Embassy in Ankara said.

The event on June 27 is the ninth such iftar the ruling AKP has hosted at their headquarters.

The invitation to Oron was extended at a time when senior officials from both Turkey and Israel said a deal had been reached to normalize ties and end a rift between the two countries dating back to 2010.

Turkish-Israeli relations were suspended in 2010 after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stormed the Mavi Marmara, part of the Gaza-bound “Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” which was trying to break the Israeli blockade on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Ten Turkish activists were killed in the raid.

Israel, which had already offered its apologies - one of Ankara’s three conditions for a deal - for the deadly raid on the Mavi Marmara activist ship, agreed to pay $20 million to the bereaved and injured, an Israeli official told Reuters news agency.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-ruling-akp-invites-israels-top-diplomat-in-ankara-to-traditional-iftar.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100946&NewsCatID=510

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Erdoğan speaks with Palestinian leader Abbas on Turkish-Israeli deal over Gaza: Sources

June 27 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by telephone on June 26 night and told him a deal had been reached with Israel to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, sources from the Turkish presidency said.

The call came as senior officials from both Turkey and Israel said a deal had been reached to normalize ties to end a rift dating to 2010, after the Israeli navy killed 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists involved in an aid flotilla that tried to breach an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The presidential sources said Abbas expressed satisfaction with the developments. A deal was expected to be formally announced at 1.00 p.m. by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Rome and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in Ankara.

Israel, which had already offered its apologies - one of Ankara's three conditions for a deal - for the lethal raid on the Mavi Marmara activist ship, agreed to pay out $20 million to the bereaved and injured, an Israeli official said.

A senior Turkish official described the deal as a "diplomatic victory" for Turkey which accepted Ankara's conditions, although Israel has not agreed to lift the Gaza blockade, one of the conditions for an agreement.

Under the deal, Turkey will deliver humanitarian aid and other non-military products to Gaza and carry out infrastructure projects, such as residential buildings and a hospital, the official said. Steps to tackle the city's water and power supply crisis will also be taken.

hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-speaks-with-palestinian-leader-abbas-on-turkish-israeli-deal-over-gaza-sources.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100944&NewsCatID=510

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Turkey deal to have ‘immense’ impact on economy, Israel PM Netanyahu says

June 27 2016

An agreement to normalise ties with Turkey after six years will have a positive impact on Israel's economy, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on June 27.

Speaking after meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome, Netanyahu said the agreement, announced by Israeli and Turkish officials on June 26, was "an important step.”

"It has also immense implications for the Israeli economy, and I use that word advisedly," he told reporters together with Kerry. Israeli officials have raised the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean gas deals once ties with Turkey were mended.

Kerry welcomed the agreement, saying, "We are obviously pleased in the administration. This is a step we wanted to see happen."

Turkish-Israeli relations were suspended in 2010 after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stormed the Mavi Marmara, part of the Gaza-bound “Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” which was trying to break the Israeli blockade on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Ten Turkish activists were killed in the raid.

 A formal announcement of the deal is expected later on June 27.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-deal-to-have-immense-impact-on-economy-israel-pm-netanyahu-says.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100945&NewsCatID=510

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Turkey very weak in good governance in public sector

June 27 2016

Turkey ranks poorly in an OECD report on public good governance, but the current situation is even worse than portrayed in the study, according to Professor Metin Çakmakçı.

Turkey has a very weak culture of good governance in the public sector, as fundamental principles like transparency and stakeholder participation are neglected for the sake of rapid decision-making, said Çakmakçı, the chairman of the Board of Directors at the Argüden Governance Academy.

Tell us about the findings of the OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook Report.

Good governance is key if our main focus is the happiness and welfare of society. The main aim even in the health sector is not just health but people’s happiness. So we need to develop the tools for the happiness and welfare of society.

The report focuses on three issues of regulatory impact assessment, stakeholder engagement and ex-post evaluation in regulatory processes. The effectiveness of 34 member countries have been compared on the data collected in 2014 by a survey among political decision makers. With small differences, the principles of good governance is the same in the public or private sector or NGOs. We need to base our work on data; we need transparency, accountability and stakeholder participation while taking decisions.

The OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook Report which was released last year focuses on three issues of regulatory impact assessment, stakeholder engagement, and ex-post evaluation in regulatory processes. Basically it asks the question of whether there has been sufficient impact analysis while taking a decision, enough stakeholder participation and an impact analysis after the decision has been taken and implemented. It is based on a survey among political decision makers; it does not involve research in the field.

On the first and third issues, Turkey ranks around 30 among 34 countries, whereas in the stakeholder aspect, it ranks in the middle of the list.

However, there are questions as to whether the necessary concepts, institutions or mechanisms are there or not. For instance, is there a requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED)? Yes, there is. But is it properly implemented? You don’t find the detail in that survey.

So, probably our performance is even worse than that shown in the report, and we think that the survey could be misleading as far as Turkey is concerned. But the report is still very important as it provides us an opportunity to think and work on the issue.

So what is the main problem with Turkey?

It’s a bit cosmetic. We have not internalized public good governance. Look at the practice of omnibus laws. It is neither transparent nor participatory. Probably some of the parliamentarians who raise their hands to vote in favor of an omnibus law do not even know the content.

But the government can argue that it is doing so in order to work and deliver in a fast manner.

Omnibus laws are bad examples of good governance. Transparency and participation is very important in contemporary societies. In Turkey, participation in public decision-making is limited to voting in elections. We need to participate in public decision-making by getting in touch with the parliamentarians, or taking a side in a decision that will affect our lives. But there is no such thing in Turkey.

The problem here is this: the costs of the decision taken by the state are not assumed by the state but by others. It is much healthier if the state takes decisions with a small margin of error. How can you minimize error? By basing your work on data, consulting stakeholders, asking them how they will be affected by that decision. Then you can take the decision you want. If you take a decision without all these processes, you end up with unintended consequences, and you never realize where they come from and, in the end, it has a higher cost for society.

On top of it all, you harm confidence. The compliance and enforcement cost rises, and that leads to higher friction in society. Where you have high friction, things do not work properly. Fast decision-making should not be the norm; it should be limited. Otherwise, you lose confidence in society. And the cost of losing confidence in society is much higher.

The gist of governance is not to take the right decision all the time, it is to implement the right processes; that produces confidence. And we need to have confidence in institutions, not individuals. We are very weak in terms of implementing the right processes. And societies that lack confidence in their institutions lose their competitiveness and fall behind others.

What is your evaluation in terms of the past 10, 20 years? Has there been no progress in terms of good governance?

In terms of public good governance, I think we are going backwards. But this is, of course, a subjective evaluation that is not based on data. Where there is progress is the publicly traded companies open to the outside world and the NGOs that are in communication with foreign interlocutors.

At the beginning of the 2000s, some mechanisms for good governance were endorsed. But they were not implemented; when they are not implemented you do not acquire the ability to learn from mistakes. If you do not measure the impact of the decision you have taken, then you cannot improve your decision-making quality because unmeasured performance cannot improve future performances. You don’t improve the quality of your decision-making because you aren’t even aware of the impact of the decision.

But people want to have fast access to services which forces states to act and deliver quickly.

Yes, but what is the cost of that fast decision-making? Electricity, transportation and communications are more expensive [compared to other countries]. How much are you paying for that service and what are the sacrifices you are making? You need to see that, too.

The problem is not making mistakes but the sense of correcting it when you make a mistake. Why are there more mistakes in the public sector than in the private sector? After all, these are the same people. Because in the public there is no mechanism of ex-post evaluation that will enable you to learn from mistakes. We have so many bad examples of decisions taken without proper impact analysis, in education and the health sector.

Tell us what the Argüden Academy is doing to promote good governance.

In cooperation with Boğaziçi University, we are organizing an education program for the young potential leaders of the future who are working in the public sector. We will have the first graduates of that certificate program in autumn when we will also start the same program for NGOs.

One of our projects is to include women on the boards of directors. Having women on boards is important because diversity diminishes the probability of error. We are preparing the curriculum of the education program in cooperation with four universities and, in addition, 40 business leaders work person to person with 40 women in high-level positions in our mentorship program.

We have programs for awareness on gender equality for companies that help them improve their practices on that issue.

We provided our views for good governance at the G-20 summit which took place in Antalya last year.

We are also walking the walk since we have endorsed integrated reporting in order to be accountable to our supporters.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-very-weak-in-good-governance-in-public-sector-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100918&NewsCatID=344

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Israeli, Turkish spy chiefs meet before settlement: Report

June 27 2016

The top spies of Israel and Turkey met some 10 days before a possible announcement of a settlement on June 26 to discuss the details of the deal, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on June 26.

The daily reported that a declaration for the normalization of ties between the two countries was expected on June 26, after Israel’s Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen “went on a secret visit to Turkey” some 10 days ago and agreed with Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan on the main understandings, mainly concerning Hamas’ activities.

“Under the agreement Turkey will not enable Hamas to carry out, plan or direct any military activity against Israel. However, Hamas offices may continue to operate in Turkey for the purpose of diplomatic activity,” read a part of the report by Haaretz.

On June 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met the leader of Palestinian group Hamas, Khaled Mashal, in Istanbul, where the two discussed how to resolve the disagreements among Palestinians as well as Turkish humanitarian assistance, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Turkish-Israeli relations were suspended in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara, part of the Gaza-bound “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” trying to break the Israeli blockade on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. As a result of the attack eight Turkish citizens and one U.S. citizen of Turkish descent were killed and a tenth died of his wounds three years later.

Haaretz reported that Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and the Israeli prime minister’s envoy, Joseph Ciechanover, would lead the two countries’ delegations, which would meet in Rome on June 26 to go over the draft agreement one final time.

“Until we see the final draft we won’t know if there’s an agreement,” Haaretz quoted a senior Israeli official as saying.

Netanyahu in Rome for talks with Kerry

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to be in Rome on June 26 to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“If the agreement with Turkey is finalized, Netanyahu plans to hold a news conference in the evening to announce the agreement,” said the report, adding that after the possible news conference Netanyahu was due to meet Kerry for dinner to discuss mainly the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Haaretz reported that even if the sides made an announcement on the agreement on June 26, the official signing would only take place in a week or two.

Turkey has three demands from Israel to normalize the strained ties. Turkey’s first demand, an apology, was met in 2013 when Netanyahu delivered his “regrets” over the loss of lives.

The second demand is Israel paying compensation to the families of the victims.

“Under the agreement, Israel will deposit some $20 million in a humanitarian fund as compensation for the families of the Turks who were killed and wounded during the raid on the Mavi Marmara,” said the daily.

Turkey’s third demand is the removal of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

“As part of the agreement, Israel will enable Turkey to set up infrastructure projects in Gaza, including the construction of a hospital, a power station and a desalination facility. All the materials for these projects will be passed via Israel’s Ashdod Port,” Haaretz reported.

If a deal is announced on June 26, the agreement is expected to be brought to the Israeli security cabinet, where it is expected to be approved.

hurriyetdailynews.com/israeli-turkish-spy-chiefs-meet-before-settlement-report.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100912&NewsCatID=510

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Investigation into alleged killer of Russian jet pilot reopened in Turkey

June 27 2016

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in the western province of İzmir has reopened an investigation into the alleged killer of a Turkey-downed Russian Su-24 jet pilot, citing new evidence on the incident.

The Prosecutor’s Office’s terror and organizational crimes bureau had recently ruled for a nonsuit for Alparslan Çelik over “grievous provocation in the killing of the Russian pilot after evaluating reports of his testimony, interviews in the media and video footage,” but reversed its decision on June 24.

“It was found out that there was another pilot that lost his life and that fire was opened on a Russian rescue helicopter which arrived to rescue the pilots and the helicopter crashed as a result. Even though the suspect Alparlan Çelik stated that he tried to calm the situation but the people around him didn’t follow his orders, the fact that fire was opened on the rescue helicopter steadily opens up the defense to be reinvestigated,” read the statement on the decision.

“The insistence on firing on the rescue helicopter after the two pilots reached the ground made it necessary for the reevaluation of the suspect Alparslan Çelik’s defence,” it added.

Çelik’s lawyer voiced his surprise on the reopening of the investigation, saying that the helicopter issue was never asked to his client.

“When we gave our testimony on the Russian pilot case, no questions were asked about the downed helicopter. Questions were asked only on the Russian pilot that jumped out of the plane. But the helicopter issue wasn’t involved,” Çelik’s lawyer, Murat Üstündağ, told daily Hürriyet, adding that he had tried to reach the prosecutor but could not as it was late and thus he was unable view the documents on the investigation.

“I don’t think that the helicopter issue will be related to my client. He feels at ease and we also feel at ease. We thought that the file was closed and we didn’t know about the new developments. Our lawyer friends visited the jail to see Alparslan Çelik. We are not in the position to comment on the investigation without seeing an official document,” he added.

Meanwhile, Russian diplomatic sources denied allegations that Moscow had provided new evidence, with one diplomat, whose identity was not disclosed, saying that they were following the developments closely.

“We are expecting the investigation to be carried out seriously. We didn’t contribute to the recent developments. We didn’t request something,” the source told Hürriyet, adding that the pilot’s name was wrongly stated in the news.

“Our pilot’s name is Peshkov. There is another name in the news. The [Russian] Foreign Ministry spokesman will make a statement on this issue,” the diplomat added.

The reopening of the investigation came amid a softening of tensions between Turkey and Russia. Moscow recently invited Ankara to the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Conference scheduled to be held in Sochi.

The Russian diplomats said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov could meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu if a request from the latter was made.

A local court ruled for the arrest of Çelik on April 3 for violating a gun law following his detainment in İzmir on March 30.

Çelik later claimed the Russian pilot could have been killed by another group fighting alongside the Turkmens in Syria and he “definitely” didn’t shoot the pilot.

Both pilots aboard the Su-24 jet downed by Turkey in November 2015 ejected and parachuted to the ground on the Syrian side of the border. One of them was killed by gunfire from the ground after ejecting from the plane.

Turkey says the Russian jet strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, while Moscow insists it did not cross over from Syria and accuses Ankara of a planned provocation.

hurriyetdailynews.com/investigation-into-alleged-killer-of-russian-jet-pilot-reopened-in-turkey-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100906&NewsCatID=509

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South Asia

5 militants blown up while planting a bomb in a mosque in Paktia

Mon Jun 27 2016

At least 5 militants were killed while planting a bomb in a mosque in Paktia province located in southeastern part of the country.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the militants were busy planting the bomb in Khushal Khel village in Syed Karam district.

MoI further added that the incident took place around 6:00 pm local time as the explosives went off prematurely, leaving five militants dead and eight others wounded.

According to MoI, the local residents did not suffer any casualties in the explosion.

The Taliban militants and insurgents belonging to the other militant groups frequently use Improvised Exposive Device (IED) to carry out attacks.

This comes as at least 3 people were killed and over 70 others were wounded after an IED was detonated in a mosque in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The incident took place as scores of people had gathered in Hisarak Jami Mosquee in Rodat district.

At least 31 children were also among those injured in the attack while the mullah, one man and one child were among those killed.

khaama.com/5-militants-blown-up-while-planting-a-bomb-in-a-mosque-in-paktia-01360

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Taliban leader Qari Ghafoor killed with his 14 fighters in Kunduz airstrike

Mon Jun 27 2016

Taliban shadow governor Hajij Lala killed_censoredA leader of the Taliban group identified as Qari Ghafar was killed in an airstrike in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the airstrike was carried out in the restive Chardara district.

According to a statement by MoD, at least 14 militants fighting for Qari Ghafoor were also killed and two others were critically wounded.

It is yet not clear if the airstrike was carried out by the Afghan forces or the US forces in Afghanistan.

The US forces have started targeting the Taliban militants and insurgents fighting for the other militant groups as President Obama approved a wider role for the US military in the country.

The new broader role was approved amid deteriorating security situation in the country with the rampant Taliban-insurgency which has entered to its 15th year.

Earlier, the US forces in Afghanistan was authorized to target the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Afghanistan.

The strikes against the ISIS loyalists were intensified amid concerns that the terror group is attempting to expand foothold in the country, establish a regional operational base in Nangarahr and consolidate operations with the terror group in Syria and Iraq.

khaama.com/taliban-leader-qari-ghafoor-killed-with-his-14-fighters-in-kunduz-airstrike-01359

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Top Taliban leader surrenders with his 65 fighters to Gen. Dostum in Faryab

Mon Jun 27 2016

Taliban commander surrenders to Dostum in FaryabA top commander of the Taliban group surrendered to the Afghan security forces in northern Faryab province amid ongoing operations led by Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum.

The Office of the Vice President in a statement said the Taliban commander Rahimdad renounced violence by surrendering to the Afghan forces in Khwajah Sabzposh district on Sunday evening.

The statement further added that commander Rahimdad was operating against the government in Khwajah Qeshir area before surrendering to the security forces.

Gen. Dostum welcomed the move by commander Rahimdad for renouncing violence and laying down their weapons in support of peace and stability.

According to the Office of the Vice President, at least 115 Taliabn militants surrendered to the Afghan security forces last Wednesday in Astana Baba and Dasht-e-Laili areas of Faryab.

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

Gen. Dostum is currently supervising major operation in Faryab province which is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan.

The Taliban militants are actively operating in a number of the central and remote districts of Faryab province as the group is attempting to expand insurgency activities in the northern provinces.

khaama.com/top-taliban-leader-surrenders-with-his-65-fighters-to-gen-dostum-in-faryab-01357

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MoD conducts probe as Taliban release pictures of biometric devices

Sun Jun 26 2016

The Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan (MoD) conducted an investigation following Taliban’s claims regarding their access to the sophisticated biometric system.

A commission was instructed to investigate the claims by the Taliban militants regarding their access to biometric system and review of the biometric system in the Ministry of Defense, MoD said.

According to a statement by MoD, the commission rejected the Taliban claims as baseless after concluding their investigation, saying the enemies of the country are exaggerating regarding the access to the system.

MoD further added that the biometric system is centralized in the Ministry of Defense and is not even available in the units and Corps of the Afghan National Army.

The statement by MoD said the system is well protected and can only be accessed with a specific code which the reliable security officials have access to only.

According to MoD, the Taliban claims and pictures released by Taliban are not authentic and the kits displayed by the group are ‘Jam kit’ which are useless and can not be used to access the information available in the biometric system.

The issue of Taliban’s access to biometric system was revealed following the abduction of at least 185 passengers in northern Kunduz province last month.

According to reports, the Taliban militants used the system to identify the security personnel among the abducted passengers.

The Taliban militants released majority of the passengers shortly after they were abducted but kept several hostages after charging them for working with the security institutions of the country.'

khaama.com/mod-conducts-probe-as-taliban-release-pictures-of-biometric-devices-01356

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Trained by Punjabis in Peshawar, suicide bomber arrested before attacking Kunar

Mon Jun 27 2016

suicide bomber arrested in KunarA suicide bomber trained in Peshawar city of Pakistan was arrested before he manage to carry out an attack in the provincial capital city of Kunar province in Asadabad.

The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), said the suicide bomber has been identified as Hafiz-ur-Rehman son of Mohammad Nabi who wanted to carry out an attack in Asadbad city.

According to a statement by NDS, Hafiz-ur-Rehman was arrested before he manage to carry out the attack

The detained bomber has confessed that he received terrorist attack trainings by Punjabi terrorists in Peshawar city of Pakistan and was deployed to Kunar for the attack.

NDS further added that a truck filled with explosives was confiscated during a separate operation from Soki district of Kunar province.

According to NDS, the militant groups were looking to use the explosives for a series of terrorist attacks in Kunar province.

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

The arrest of the suicide bomber by intelligence operatives comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for allowing the terrorist groups to use its soil to plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan.

The Afghan officials are saying that the leadership networks of the Taliban group and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network are based in Peshawar and Quetta cities of Pakistan.

khaama.com/trained-by-punjabis-in-peshawar-suicide-bomber-arrested-before-attacking-kunar-01361

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Bangladesh arrests ‘killer’ of anti-terrorism officer’s wife

Jun 26, 2016

Experts say a government crackdown on opponents, including banning the largest Islamist party following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism. (Shutterstock)

Bangladesh police said Sunday they had arrested a man suspected of killing the wife of an anti-terrorism police officer, just weeks after she was stabbed and shot in the southeastern city of Chittagong.

The murder, initially blamed on Islamist militants, raised tension in the Muslim-majority country, which is reeling from a wave of killings of secular activists, religious minorities and foreigners in recent months.

Chittagong police chief Iqbal Bahar told reporters that officers detained Wasim, who uses one name, on the outskirts of the city Saturday and he had admitted his role in the killing.

“We suspect Wasim as the main killer who stabbed and shot dead Mahmuda (Begum),” Bahar said, referring to the wife of top Chittagong anti-terrorism police officer Babul Akter.

“Wasim is a professional killer. During interrogation, he admitted his involvement in the murder. But we could not know whether he is linked with any militant outfit,” Bahar said, adding one of his associates who was involved in the killing was also arrested.

Police had suspected homegrown Islamist militants for the murder, after Akter led several high-profile operations against the banned Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militant group in the southeastern city in recent months.

In October last year Akter and his team arrested top JMB militant Mohammad Javed along with four others and seized a huge cache of explosives from their hideout, according to police.

Javed was later killed by a grenade during a police raid on another JMB hideout, to which he was brought along as an informant.

Three unidentified men stabbed and then shot Mahmuda Begum in the head as she walked her son to a school bus stop near her home on June 5.

The murder is said to have prompted a huge nationwide crackdown on suspected militants, leading to the arrest of more than 11,000 people including nearly 200 suspected jihadists.

Police say nearly 50 people have been killed by homegrown Islamists in the past three years, with a spike in attacks in recent weeks.

International jihadists such as the Islamic State organisation and Al-Qaeda’s South Asia wing have claimed responsibility for most of the murders, but authorities deny these groups are present in the country.

Bangladesh’s secular government instead blames local opponents.

Experts say a government crackdown on opponents, including banning the largest Islamist party following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism.

hindustantimes.com/world-news/bangladesh-arrests-killer-of-anti-terrorism-officer-s-wife/story-WGlxOCmpLDXIh00cbJAeOP.html

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Zardari criticize allocation of Rs300 million to pro-Taliban Madrasa

Mon Jun 27 2016

The former Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has criticized the allocation of 300 million Pakistani Rupees to a pro-Taliban Madrasa.

Zardari who is the co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party has said “This is nothing but legitimization of militancy and militant Taliban that will undermine the nation’s resolve to fight militants to the finish.”

According to a statement released by Zardari and carried in a report by a local media “The resources should have been spent on human development instead of on a seminary whose claim to fame lies in its promotion of militant Islam and the world view of Islamic militants.”

The statement further added “That it should have happened around the time when a group of the militant Taliban reportedly claimed responsibility for the target-killing of Sabri Qawwal in Karachi makes it all the more poignant.”

According to Zardari, the head of the Darul Uloom Haqqania in Nowshera is an acknowledged sympathiser and undeclared spokesperson of the Taliban.

“During the government-TTP talks in 2014, the Taliban actually named the head of the seminary to negotiate on their behalf. It is also widely known that a number of militant Taliban leaders have been students of this seminary,” he added.

Last week, a story published in The News had revealed that the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf led KP government had made a drastic cut in the funds for minorities and allocated a whopping Rs300 million for the seminary in the provincial budget.

khaama.com/zardari-criticize-allocation-of-rs300-million-to-pro-taliban-madrasa-01358

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Southeast Asia

Philippine Leader Says Could be Open to Talks with Islamic Militants

27.06.2016

Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte says he could be open to peace talks with the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf, which recently beheaded two foreign hostages and kidnapped seven more.

"The Abu Sayyaf is not my enemy. I know it is connected with the issue of Mindanao," Duterte told supporters in a speech in the central city of Cebu late Saturday, referring to the rebellion-torn south of the country.

"That is why I want to ask them: are they willing to talk or do we just fight it out?" said the firebrand politician, who campaigned on promises to get tough on crime and who takes office on June 30.

The incoming leader himself hails from Mindanao, where a decades-long Muslim separatist insurgency has claimed more than 100,000 lives.

While previous administrations have opened talks with major Muslim separatist groups in the South, they have deployed troops to hunt down the Abu Sayyaf.

The Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of a few hundred Islamic militants formed in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network that has earned millions of dollars from kidnappings-for-ransom.

Although its leaders have pledged allegiance to Islamic State, analysts say they are mainly focused on lucrative kidnappings.

Duterte said on Friday that he and his aides were responsible for successfully negotiating the release of one of the group's hostages, a Filipina who had been kidnapped along with several foreigners in September.

The Abu Sayyaf beheaded two Canadian hostages who were among that group. Thee fourth hostage, a Norwegian, is still being held.

Last week seven Indonesian seamen were abducted in waters off the southern Philippines, prompting Jakarta to ban any Indonesian-flagged vessel from sailing to the Philippines.

The Philippine military said Sunday it believes the Indonesians are being held in the remote Sulu archipelago, the main Abu Sayyaf stronghold.

Earlier this year Abu Sayyaf kidnapped four Malaysian seamen and 14 Indonesian sailors. They were freed several months later.

The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to consider joint measures aimed at curbing the seaborne kidnappings.

These include sea and air patrols over a designated transit corridor where vessels could travel between the countries.

naharnet.com/stories/en/212212

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Indonesia tries to steer convicted militants to new lives

27.06.2016

In the heart of Solo city, not far from the Islamic boarding school founded by the radical cleric who inspired the 2002 Bali bombings, the staff of an unremarkable-looking restaurant prepare for another day serving the humble staples of the Indonesian diet to hungry locals.

The manager, a slightly built man with quick lively gestures, darts about the narrow kitchen, dropping ingredients into sizzling hot pans to make the bistik and other fare that customers including the local police crave. With a wife and two children to support, he also runs a car hire business and a laundry service on the side.

One of the millions of small-time business owners that keep the world's most populous Muslim nation ticking, 40-year-old Mahmudi Haryono is also a poster boy for the transformation of a bomb maker and jihadis into a productive member of society.

To be sure, his extensive jihadi history doesn't inspire easy trust. It includes being a combatant with the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines for three years, where he honed bomb making skills and fighting in sectarian conflicts between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia. He was arrested less than a year after the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people and convicted of hiding materials used to make the bombs.

"The fact is that I trained in the Philippines as a jihadist fighter to defend Muslims and I did jihad only when Muslims were oppressed in conflict regions. It is part of my past," Haryono said in an interview. "Today, my priority in life is taking care of my family and business and preaching a path to help reform radical inmates."

A private foundation has worked intensively with Haryono since his release from prison in 2009 and holds him up as an example of how hardened militants can be reformed. The need for such success stories is great in Indonesia, where several hundred men imprisoned for terrorism offenses have been paroled in the past several years, including 97 last year alone.

Since 2002, Indonesian authorities, with U.S. and Australian help, have vastly improved their intelligence gathering and counterterrorism operations. The imprisonment of nearly 800 militants and the killing of more than 100 in raids have weakened the groups under the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network responsible for the Bali tragedy and dozens of other plots and attacks.

But efforts to de-radicalise militants in prison have been less successful, partly because the Islamic State group inspires them to hold to extremism. Two perpetrators of the IS-inspired suicide bombing in the Indonesian capital on 14 January had been released from prison shortly before the attack.

"We have to admit the de-radicalisation programmes by the non-state groups and the government are not enough," said Taufik Andrie, executive director of Yayasan Prasasti Perdamaian, an institute that helps paroled militants and established the restaurant where Haryono works and now owns a stake in.

Andrie estimates that 40 percent of the more than 400 militants released as of December last year returned to their radical networks. He said some of those people may want a normal life, but few Indonesians want to employ them, or even have them living in their neighbourhoods. Back in their radical circles, they would be welcomed as heroes.

"When they are released, they are on their own. For them, society is a second prison because of the stigmatisation," Andrie said.

In the Solo neighbourhood of Ngruki, former militant Joko Purwanto, who uses the alias Handzollah, said he has slowly gained acceptance from the devout Muslim community that shunned him when he was released from prison two years ago.

The village of narrow lanes and tightly packed houses is dotted with shops selling hijabs and famously is home to the fundamentalist Al Mukmin Islamic boarding school founded by Abu Bakar Bashir, the ageing spiritual leader of the Bali bombers, who is now languishing in prison for his role in funding a jihadist training camp in Aceh.

Handzollah, a former student at Al Mukmin, fought alongside Haryono and was arrested in a 2010 raid on Bashir's training camp. After his release, he said, neighbours ignored his greetings, and at the mosque a worshipper called him a terrorist who should be ostracised.

"I responded by doing good," the 41-year-old said. "I didn't avoid them. Instead I tried to approach mainstream society. "Gradually, they realised that I've changed."

Nowadays, Handzollah is popular as a preacher and often travels. Numerous children from two wives are supported by one wife's business making snack foods for restaurants and shops. He now says violent jihad is not justifiable within Indonesia because Muslims aren't under attack. In common with other parolees, he denounces IS for killing Muslims who reject its extreme interpretation of Islam.

"What I did in the past was a mistake. Many tenets of Islam were violated to do jihad, by doing bombing attacks in peaceful places like hotels, markets or other public areas that killed innocent people," he said.

Prized for his skill in repairing weapons, Handzollah said IS supporters have attempted to recruit him since he left prison. He said he has persuaded at least 10 young men not to travel to Syria to join the IS group.

Like Haryono and other former Jemaah Islamiyah militants, he still believes Indonesia should be governed by Islamic Sharia law, not a secular government, but says that goal should be achieved through peaceful methods.

Yet Handzollah does not unequivocally rule out a return to militancy.

"Of course the ideology of jihad remains inside me, because it's part of Islam," he said. "I believe in Sharia law and an Islamic state, so, if someone is able to convince me with certain arguments – but this is very unlikely to me now – it may make me go back" to violence.

For those who support de-radicalisation efforts, Handzollah represents a form of success but also underlines a dilemma for the government: will doing more to support released militants join mainstream society help prevent future attacks, or provide the cover for militants to rebuild and plot?

Brig. Gen. Hamidin, director of prevention at Indonesia's counterterrorism agency, said there are limits to what the government can do. It can't provide former radicals small-business loans, for example, since that could create a perception there's a financial incentive for terrorism, he said. Instead, it plans to mentor released militants and help them get national ID cards, which are needed to apply for jobs, opening bank accounts and conducting other essential tasks.

Hamidin, who uses one name, says the government already has had some success. Government figures show that less than 10 percent of released militants have been re-arrested or killed in anti-terrorism operations. He concedes, however, that the number who returned to radicalism is much higher.

The recidivism figure doesn't include those who joined IS in Syria, for instance. It's not illegal for Indonesians to join conflicts abroad, though Parliament is considering a revamped law.

Andrie, from the institute, said it has been successful with most of the 30 men it has been involved with in the past five years. It finds ways to draw individuals into their communities and focuses on persuading them to repudiate violence, rather than trying to try change core beliefs such as support for a caliphate.

The group has learned on the job, including from its mistakes.

In one case, a paroled militant was provided with $500 to start a T-shirt business. Soon the group discovered the venture had failed, partly because the business didn't engage the man with regular people.

As for the T-shirts? They were emblazoned with either the face of Osama bin Laden or an AK-47 and given away within the man's radical circle.

en.qantara.de/content/indonesia-tries-to-steer-convicted-militants-to-new-lives

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Philippine military admits abduction of Indonesians

Julie M. Aurelio

Mon, June 27 2016

Seven Indonesians were snatched from a tugboat on June 22 in the Sulu Sea.

Two days after Indonesian authorities reported the abduction of seven of their seamen by Filipino terrorists in the Sulu Sea, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has finally confirmed the incident.

Military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the Western Mindanao Command, which has jurisdiction over the area,  reported that seven of 13 Indonesians, including the boat’s captain, were snatched from a tugboat on June 22 at 11am in the Sulu Sea.

“Information from ground units suggest the kidnap victims are possibly being held captive somewhere in Sulu,” Padilla said.

The Abu Sayyaf snatched 17 other Indonesian sailors in separate incidents in March and April, although they have since been released. Several Malaysians were also abducted.

Indonesia on Friday announced a halt to coal shipments to the Philippines until Manila could secure its own waters.

“The moratorium on coal exports to the Philippines will be extended until there is a guarantee for security from the Philippines government,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported seeing a 20-minute video in which a man identified by Malaysian authorities as Mohd Rafi Udin, a Malaysian militant currently in Syria, speaks in Malay: “If you cannot go to [Syria], join up and go to the Philippines.”

In the video, Udin urges Muslims to unite under the leadership of Abu Abdullah, also known as Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf, who pledged allegiance to Islamic State in January.

thejakartapost.com/seasia/2016/06/27/philippine-military-admits-abduction-of-indonesians.html

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Europe

Breitbart’s Milo To Lead Gay Pride March Through Swedish Muslim Ghetto

26 Jun 2016

Yiannopoulos made the announcement in live conversation with The Rubin Report’s Dave Rubin, after discussing Islam with Rubin and the risks it poses to homosexuals.

“When you start to enforce your political or social opinions through violence, that’s when there’s a problem. That is the moment when the whole world should be saying ‘you are the problem and we’re going to do what it takes to protect ourselves from you’, but the left doesn’t do that” said Yiannopoulos on the live stream.

“The left instead starts making excuses for them, saying ‘oh, well the West created this problem’. Look, this infantilizes Muslims to the status of children who lack free will. It infantilizes them into being mindless automaton products of American foreign policy. That’s fucking insane.”

Rubin then brought up the fact that armed police officers could be seen everywhere at the recent gay pride festival in Hollywood shortly after the Orlando terrorist attacks before Milo replied:

“Because it’s become dangerous to be gay again. Why? Islam. It hasn’t become physically dangerous to be gay in America because of evangelicals, because of Mormons, because of Zoroastrians. It’s not the fucking Buddhists, you know, that have got police out protecting gay pride marches.

“It is Islam, and that is the case everywhere you look in Europe where Islam has had a huge influx. It’s in Germany, it’s in Sweden… Malmo, now the rape capital of Europe. They attack women, they attack gays.”

Finally, Yiannopoulos let slip on his upcoming Sweden visit, announcing:

“I’m gonna go to Sweden in a couple of weeks and lead the parade in Sweden through the Muslim ghetto… Because last year, you’ll remember that the Swedish authorities, the Swedish government, you know these far-left social justice lunatics who are trying to create a progressive paradise in Sweden, well I’ll tell you what a progressive paradise is like: A broke country where all the women get raped.

“A year ago, Swedish authorities told a gay march off for being too unnecessarily provocative for marching through a Muslim area. Now to my mind, the point of gay pride was always to be brave and defiant in the face of hateful social conservatism, right? I thought that was it. That’s what they’re doing.

“So I’m gonna go and I’m gonna be there in Sweden in a couple of weeks and march through this heavily Muslim area to remind people, and I hope it will remind people in Europe at least, what the problem is today.

“It’s not Buddhists, or Christians, or Zoroastrians, or Confucians, or even much blind Atheists. None of these people are taking to the streets with assault rifles to kill gays.”

The march will happen during Gay Pride Week in Stockholm. More details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

breitbart.com/milo/2016/06/26/milo-to-lead-gay-pride-march-through-muslim-ghetto-sweden/

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Islamophobia Set to Grow in Balkans, Experts Warn

June 26, 2016

Islamophobia is likely to increase in the near future in the Balkans, experts noted, as a result of a political and media environment which in many countries in the region - notably Croatia and Serbia - has deteriorated in recent years due to regional phenomena like the refugee crisis of 2015 and the rise of the so called Islamic State in the Middle East.

"In 2015 we saw a paradigmatic shift in the rightwing parties in Croatia," Dino Mujadzevic, a researcher from the University of Zagreb and expert of contemporary history of South-Eastern Europe, told BIRN.

According to Mujadzevic, Islamophobia has not been a major issue in Croatia, but things have changed since the huge wave of refugees hit the country last year.

"For the first time, Croatian right-wing parties are exploiting the idea of a 'Muslim threat' coming to our country, imported by non-European Muslims ... and media in Croatia have started reporting extensively about crimes committed by Muslims or refugee seekers in other countries", Mujadzevic said, noting that this media environment is facilitating the growth of anti-Islamic sentiments among the population.

"In case there is a new wave of refugees ... Islamophobia will become a real force in Croatia," he predicted.

Mujadzevic's concerns were shared by Bojan Perovic, a researcher from the University of Hamburg and an expert on human rights from Serbia.

He warned about growing anti-Muslim sentiment in Serbian media and the risk that it might obtain wider support after the last parliamentarian elections marked the return of hardcore nationalist parties to parliament.

While Perovic noted that Serbian authorities reacted promptly to the refugee crisis, he noted that anti-Islamic sentiments are present in both Serbian school books and tabloids.

"In the future, and especially after nationalist parties came back to the parliament, we can expect this kind of rhetoric to become even more popular," Perovic told BIRN.

Both Perovic and Mujadzevic were among the experts who participated in a panel dedicated to Islamophobia in the Balkans, organised as part of the first European Islamophobia Summit on Sunday.

Other panelists stressed that Islamophobic rhetoric can be found also in countries like Kosovo and Bosnia, where Muslims represent a large part of the population.

Arber Fetiu, a researcher of the University of Montreal, from Kosovo, said that although many people in Kosovo practice Islam, negative stereotypes against "bearded men" and "veiled women" were becoming increasingly common, as an effect of the concerns over radicalisation and extremism, and because they are seen as subject to a "foreign religious influence" which might be undermining Kosovo's independence.

"These peoeple are often depicted as men and women who have been paid by Arab countries, or even by Serbia - according to some conspiracy theories - to 're-Islamise' Kosovo", Feitu told the conference.

Dermana Seta, a Bosnian expert on religious studies who chairs the commission for freedom of religion inside the Bosnian Islamic Community, noted that Bosnian Muslims are often victims of hate speech and crimes in places where they are in the minority.

She said that moves by Bosnian authorities to fight terrorism and radicalisation have contributed to stigmatising Muslim believers as potential threats to security.

"The Bosnian strategy against terrorism specifically adopts measures against Muslim extremists ... while other extreme [Serbian and Croat] right-wing movements are not even mentioned," Seta told BIRN.

"Our government is trying to impress its Western partners, but its techniques are not doing any good for our internal situation," Seta concluded.

balkaninsight.com/en/article/islamophobia-set-to-rise-in-the-balkans-experts-warn-06-26-2016

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We must be careful with Muslim refugees

June 26, 2016

A recent editorial began with a patently false statement: “U.S. Muslim ban is never an option.” In reality, of course it is an option. It may not be the best option, but it is certainly one of them, and one to which many Americans would wholeheartedly subscribe.

A little history might help here: When confronted with a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (still a darling of the left), sent several thousand Japanese, many of whom were American citizens, away from California to bleak desert camps. He was concerned that a Fifth Column would rise from among them and attack our defense industries. Later, many Japanese-American recruits fought heroically on the European Front against Germany. Historians have agreed this was an overreaction, but perhaps a sensible one given the exigencies of that time.

Now we have a protracted war going on against radical elements of Islam. Our pusillanimous president won’t even call it by its name. Several million uneducated or poorly educated young Muslim men have poured out of the Middle East as a result of this war. Consider that if only 2 percent of these are “sleepers” deliberately inserted by ISIS, al-Qaeda or one of the many other radical Islamic sects currently active, waiting to ignite another wave of terrorist acts in Europe and America. That is 20,000 people.

Competent estimates put the potential number of radicals much higher: 10 percent. If true, that means we are facing an influx of 200,000 potential suicide bombers, shooters, etc.

We should all be aware that America now houses hundreds of thousands of Muslims, many of whom are well-educated doctors, engineers and professors. They are loyal Americans until proven otherwise. But bringing in young male Muslim refugees fleeing from poverty and disruption in the Middle East is an entirely different issue.

cjonline.com/opinion/2016-06-26/letter-we-must-be-careful-muslim-refugees#

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North America

Donald Trump Just Changed His Mind On Muslims—You Can Enter America Only If You’re A Scottish Muslim

JUNE 26, 2016

Donald Trump might be feeling the pressure with his campaign manager gone and his polls dropping since he made a very special announcement regarding his thoughts on the Muslim communities.

Last Saturday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump amended his general suggestion on immigration policies. If before he was ready to deport all Muslims and Mexicans back to their nations, this time, Donald Trump is appealing to a more reasonable stance on immigration.

“I don’t want people coming in from the terror countries. You have terror countries! I don’t want them, unless they’re very, very strongly vetted. But they’re going to be even more severely vetted if it’s one of the terror countries.”

Donald Trump said that his policy, if ever he would be elected president, would have a “heart.” He noted that he would only focus on banning Muslims from countries with links to terrorism. If a Muslim would be coming from Scotland, he could give a leeway, according to ABC.

Trump said that it “wouldn’t bother” him if Scottish Muslims would come to the United States. This is a 180-shift from his original proposal of “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

When Donald Trump revised his announcement, many were surprised, especially since his original proposal was so headstrong on suspending all Muslims from entering the U.S. This is the only time Donald Trump made a specification that only Muslims from terrorist countries are not going to be allowed.

“Although the pause is temporary, we must find out what is going on,” he said. “We have to do it. It will be lifted, this ban, when and as a nation we’re in a position to properly and perfectly screen these people coming into our country.”

“I want terrorists out. I want people that have bad thoughts out. I would limit specific terrorist countries and we know who those terrorist countries are,” Trump said.

When asked to clarify what he meant when he said “terrorist” countries, Donald Trump did not respond.

The Sudden Shift

Donald Trump might be doing damage control when he announced this change on this plans for immigration. In the released immigration plan last year, Donald Trump indicated that the U.S. will build a wall along its border in Mexico and he would even ask Mexico to pay for the structure.

This weekend, he continued his stance on the matter by saying, “We are going to get rid of a lot of bad dudes who are here. That I can tell you.”

The new announcement from Donald Trump has also been a complete opposite of his Dec. 7 news release, which stated that he wanted a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Aside from Scottish Muslims, Donald Trump did not move over to explaining the other regions that could be exempted from his immigration rule.

With about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, according to the Pew Research Center, Europe has a massive population of Muslims as well.

In his new sentiment on the Muslim rule, Donald Trump also blamed the media for describing his suggestions as “mass deportations.” Trump said he never agreed to this term created by the media.

However, November last year, Donald Trump said to achieve his goal of deporting “immigrants” back to Mexico, he would have a “deportation force.”

“You’re going to have a deportation force, and you’re going to do it humanely and you’re going to bring the country — and, frankly, the people, because you have some excellent, wonderful people, some fantastic people that have been here for a long period of time.”

inquisitr.com/3245482/donald-trump-just-changed-his-mind-on-muslims-you-can-enter-america-only-if-youre-a-scottish-muslim/

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Orlando tragedy can serve as a teaching moment for Muslim Americans

June 26, 2016

My first recollection of a religious holiday as a Muslim child in the Middle East was actually of Christmas. My parents, not wanting me and my siblings to feel out of place or "different" in the British expatriate school we attended, placed gifts under our beds for us to wake up to on Christmas morning.

This did not mean we were Christian or agnostic -- far from it. We were fully aware we were Muslims, yet we were part of an Arab Muslim middle class in the Middle East, who along with fellow Arab Muslims of more or less means, were tolerant, open-minded and completely oblivious to any radical or extremist distinctions between Muslim and Christian or between Muslim Sunni and Shiite.

This attitude continued through our teenage years in Lebanon, even during the Lebanese Civil War of 1975-1992. While there was a Muslim vs. Christian element to that conflict, it was always at a political level and never really seeped into or established roots in the thinking of the general population. While fewer Muslims resided in the "Christian" half of Lebanon during the war, on the "Muslim" side many Christians lived and worshipped freely and safely, and it was not uncommon to hear church bells tolling on Sunday in "Muslim" West Beirut.

This is the silent but largely unheard majority often spoken about among Muslims. We don't necessarily pray five times a day, nor do women in our families usually wear a hijab (although the hijab has seen a resurgence in the past 20 years or so but more as part of a religious re-awareness as opposed to adhering to radical thought).

Many of us do fast during Ramadan and are very proud of being Muslim, yet we remain moderate and open-minded in our thinking and way of life. Among our friends, mates and wives/husbands are Christians and Jews, homosexual and heterosexual. We don't judge or discriminate, we just live and let live.

We have watched over the years the many different manifestations of the extreme minority of radical extremists who have severely tarnished our religion, most lately culminating in the Islamic State, and we feel absolutely no connection to them or their beliefs. They are foreign and repulsive to us. They do not represent us or the religion of peace that Islam fundamentally is.

Instead, they have grotesquely distorted religion and Scripture, ignorantly cherry-picking verses from the Quran to justify the unjustifiable. They are no more Muslim than any violent group who professes adherence to Christianity is Christian, such as the KKK, the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda or the Oklahoma federal building bomber Timothy McVeigh.

My family immigrated to the United States in the late 1980s, to Orlando where we established roots and the city became our new American hometown. While I personally moved on to the Washington, D.C., area, my immediate family remained there and I still refer to Orlando as "home."

It is because of this feeling of home that the horrific massacre at the LGBT club Pulse in Orlando has struck me so deeply. All violent deaths are equally tragic and senseless whether in Orlando or elsewhere, but this particular outrage felt like someone had violated me personally, had entered the sacred space of home we all feel and desecrated that space. It is for this reason that because of this particular horror I've felt not only sadness but also grief.

Millions of words, spoken and on paper will be dedicated to analyzing, probing and pontificating on the reasons for the massacre at the Pulse nightclub. Most of the writing will be way off mark, offensive to Muslims in general and bigoted, and will play right into the hands of radical extremists preying on confused, weak and vulnerable Muslims.

This we cannot control. What we can control as Muslim Americans, whether immigrant or American-born, is to shape the narrative of who we are and what we stand for. It is not enough to simply condemn the acts of violence committed in our religion's name and then shake our heads when demagogues like Trump recommend a ban on all Muslims entering our country, the United States.

We must be proactive in defining what our religion really stands for in word and in action. We have a tendency to get defensive when such violent acts are committed in Islam's name, and retreat into our own communities. Or we simply react in shame and sorrow at the latest act, while waiting for a future one to inevitably follow, wincing when we hear of an attack on TV, hoping that the name of the perpetrator or group will not be Arab or Muslim. While understandable, that is not the answer.

We chose the United States as our adopted home because our homes in our former countries became unlivable for one reason or the other, and we must fully embrace our being American along with our roots and unique culture. One does not negate the other.

Despite the tragedy, Orlando, my American hometown, can serve as a teaching moment for Muslim Americans. If we focused on three small objectives that are achievable for us both as individuals and as a community, I believe we can make a measurable difference.

The first objective is embracing being American. Too often we confuse being American with an erosion or rejection of our native culture and mores. It is quite the contrary. America is the land of immigrants, a melting pot of many diverse cultures and peoples, all contributing to what makes this country unique and strong.

Assimilation means developing a hybrid of what is good from our mother countries (family values, importance of education, respect for elders) and our adopted home (democracy, justice, rule of law) and engaging in every aspect of American life as Muslim Americans, rather than retreating defensively into our own culturally fenced-off communities.

Assimilating also means understanding and respecting that all are equal in America -- black, white, Muslim, Christian, Jew, atheist, agnostic, or LGBT. It means standing shoulder to shoulder with communities that are discriminated against, as we are discriminated against today. One of the largest Muslim-American organizations, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, took an admirable stand in the wake of the Orlando tragedy by expressing solidarity with the LGBT community in the wake of the attack and even urged Muslims to donate blood for the injured victims.

The second achievable objective is in educating our fellow non-Muslim Americans to the fact that Islam is not a "foreign" religion but part of the Abrahamic tradition; in fact, it is the third pillar of the Abrahamic monotheistic line of faiths, alongside Judaism and Christianity.

As such, one critical step to take is to stop inserting the Arab translation for the word God, "Allah," into conversation or writing related to Islam that is conducted in English. Allah is simply the translation in the Arabic language of the word "God." Arab Christians and Muslims use "Allah" when referring to God in Arabic, both in word and in Scripture, in mosque and church, and in personal prayer. What Allah is not is the Muslim God, no more than "Dieu" is the "French God" or "Dios" the "Spanish God."

It is bad enough that the U.S. media, politicians and pundits routinely reinforce this dangerous and misleading fallacy. As Muslim Americans we should not be adding to it ourselves.

Finally, we should encourage critical thinking in Islam that makes us think rather than fall back on feel-good narratives that create comfort bubbles and inhibit thought. This is not to say that we should doubt the words of the Quran, which to Muslims is the literal word of God as passed on by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad. Instead it is to follow in the steps of Muslim philosophers such as Al-Farabi, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Arabi and Ibn Khaldun and engage in healthy debate about women's rights, sectarian divisions, diversity, violence conducted in our name, and, yes, even homosexuality.

It is astonishing that since the last of these great philosophers Ibn Khaldun, died in 1406, over 612 years ago, there has been little to show in terms of mainstream critical thinking and Islamic philosophy. It is time for that silent majority of Muslims, who overwhelmingly make up the world's Muslims, to pick up the mantle of these philosophers, and in both action and word, wrest away our beautiful religion from the poisonous few among us who have so tarnished its image.

ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/orlando-tragedy-can-serve-teaching-moment-muslim-americans

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Missiles For Terrorists, But No Guns For Americans

JUNE 26, 2016

You won’t find many of the Democrats who pulled their phony publicity stunt over gun control backing the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act. It was after all their very own administration that chose to sendF-16 fighter jets, not to mention other serious firepower, to the Muslim Brotherhood regime that ruled in Egypt before being overthrown by military intervention and popular protests.

Not only was the Muslim Brotherhood regime linked to Hamas, which was designated as a foreign terrorist group by the State Department, but it had helped ISIS open up a front in the Sinai. Hamas is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Qaeda is currently run by a Brotherhood splinter group. Osama bin Laden had been a member of the Brotherhood. Zarqawi, the founder of the group that eventually became ISIS, was freed as a gesture to the Muslim Brotherhood. If the Muslim Brotherhood were any more involved in Islamic terrorism, it would have copyrighted the term.

But Secretary of State John Kerry had defended the weapons giveaway to the Brotherhood by claiming that, “Not everything lends itself to a simple classification, black or white.” Apparently aiding Islamic terrorists defies simple classification. Not everything is black and white. Sometimes it’s bright red.

While Democrats have harped on gun sales to potential terrorists, their own government was responsible for selling far more lethal weapons to far more dangerous Islamic terrorist groups.

Our weapons have gone to such diverse forces for democracy in Syria as the Islamist militias operating under the moniker of the Free Syrian Army whose leader defended Al Qaeda and the majority of whose commanders wanted to work with Al Qaeda, Jaysh al-Qasas, a former ally of ISIS and Ghuraba al-Sham, which had called for slaughtering Americans “like cattle” and whose former leader had ISIS ties.

The Free Syrian Army had included the Farouq Brigades, which forced non-Muslims to pay Jizya taxes and which became notorious when one of its commanders was filmed eating a heart. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Tawheed Brigade, which was part of the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front and the Islamic Front, had called for imposing Sharia in an Islamic State alongside Al Qaeda. 

The Muslim Brotherhood's Mujahadeen Army, which included such democratic secular brigades as the Glory of Islam Brigade, the Islamic Light Movement, the Rightly Guided Brigades, the Lions of Islam and the Swords of Islam, and the Islamist Nour al Din al Zinki got TOW missiles.

Despite the feverish enthusiasm of Democrats for running background checks on Americans buying guns, they had no interest in conducting background checks on the Islamic terrorist groups they were sending missiles to.

The biggest smuggler of weapons to terrorists isn’t hiding in a cave somewhere in Pakistan. He isn’t living in exile in a villa in Latin America. Instead he lives in comfortable luxury in the White House.

Obama had secretly authorized Timber Sycamore, the code name that stood for an alliance with the Saudis to smuggle assault rifles and missiles to Syrian Jihadists. He endorsed a Qatari weapons smuggling operation to Libyan Jihadists which the White House later admitted was aiding “Islamic militant groups” who were “more antidemocratic, more hard-line, closer to an extreme version of Islam”. NATO forces around Libya were told to turn a blind eye to the weapons smuggling.

Guns and missiles flowed through Benghazi on orders from Obama. But the impetus had come from Hillary Clinton. The same Hillary Clinton who is so vocal about gun control in America fought to arm Jihadists in Libya. And Hillary also insisted that even more had to be done to arm Syrian Jihadists as well.

Obama, Hillary and other Democrats seem to think that Americans can’t be trusted with guns, but Islamists can. They’re as passionate about arming Islamic terrorists as they are about disarming Americans.

The Democrats blamed the Orlando Islamic terrorist attack by Omar Mateen on homophobia. Meanwhile the administration continues to aid Shiite militias that murder gay men.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq, also known as The League of the Righteous, is backed by Iran, and like its “moderate” backer in Tehran has become notorious for its massacres of gay men. Asaib Ahl al-Haq has beheaded gay men. The death total has been estimated to be higher than in the Pulse nightclub massacre.

Today Asaib Ahl al-Haq is a key player in the campaign against ISIS. Shiite militias are in charge in Iraq and American support for the Shiite effort, like its support for the Sunni effort in Syria, means support for Jihadist groups.

Obama freed the leaders of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, even though aside from its massacres of gay men, Asaib Ahl al-Haq has claimed credit for thousands of attacks on Americans. It had abducted and murdered American soldiers. And it continues to threaten Americans in Iraq today. Yet the United States has acted as its air force and its terrorists and killers allegedly carry our weapons.

Obama’s Iran nuke deal has funded a major arms shopping spree by the Islamic terror state. And yet the Democrats so dedicated to gun control were enthusiastically in favor of a plan which allows Iran to toy with nuclear technology whose destructive capability is so far above that of any gun that the latter might as well not even exist. They also have no problems with Iran’s weapons shopping spree.

Their philosophy continues to be that guns and missiles for terrorists are not a problem. Only Americans buying guns must be stopped even at the cost of our civil rights. And that is the problem in a nutshell.

Orlando was an Islamic terrorist attack. Democrats have put on a great show of caring about the abstract existence of firearms, but none about the threat of Islamic terrorists. Guns do not shoot themselves. Their lack of concern and interest in the motives of Islamic terrorists is the problem.

Obama has dispensed guns to Islamic terrorists without bothering with any background checks. Media accounts repeatedly spew nonsense about how Islamic Jihadists dedicated to establishing systems of Sharia law are really secular and democratic moderates. The same newspapers and news networks that are horrified at the idea of an American being able to purchase an AR-15 see no problems with Islamic terrorists getting their hands on everything from TOW missiles to F-16 jets.

Even Islamic terrorists who were allied with groups officially listed as terrorists still received weapons and support. That is unacceptable. And we may never know the full consequences of that treason.

If the Democrats really want gun control, then let them start by controlling the flood of guns and missiles going to terrorists. Not to mention drug cartels. If they really want gun control, then they can start by ending the sale of weapons to regimes tied to terrorism, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia. If they really want gun control, then they can prevent the recurrence of similar weapons smuggling schemes to Islamist groups by signing on to the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act.

But Democrats don’t oppose guns going to terrorists. They only oppose guns going to Americans.

frontpagemag.com/fpm/263308/missiles-terrorists-no-guns-americans-daniel-greenfield

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/the-end-of-the-caliphate--isis-left-reeling-after-fallujah-liberated-by-iraqi-army/d/107779

 

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