45 dead in Saudi-led raids on Yemen capital

45 dead in Saudi-led raids on Yemen capital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Twenty civilians were among at least 45 people killed in Saudi-led air strikes on the rebel-held armed forces headquarters in the Yemeni capital on Sunday, a medic said.

 

Mideast

45 dead in Saudi-led raids on Yemen capital

US, Turkey failed to inform UNSC about Daesh oil smuggling: Russia

Israel strikes Gaza in response to rocket fire

UAE, Saudi Colonels Killed in Yemeni Forces’ Attacks

Iran Rejects Allegations about Withdrawing Military Advisors from Syria

Iran Voices Deep Regret over Massacre of Shiite Muslims in Nigeria

Yemen ceasefire to begin Monday at midnight

16-year-old Palestinian attempts stabbing in West Bank, is shot

Freedom of speech in Egypt worse than Mubarak era: Author

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Arab World

Dozens of civilians killed in Syrian rebel stronghold

U.S.-led coalition conduct 22 air strikes on ISIS

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Continues Mop-Up Operations Countrywide

Syria: Militants in Homs Surrender to Government

Egypt lawyer challenges law that says writers can be jailed

25 dead as Kurram bomb targets ‘supporters of Syria’s Assad’

Kuwait upholds sentence in mosque bombing

Reports Say Turkey Withdrawing Troops from Northern Iraq

Iraqi Popular Forces’ Top Commander Warns of Annihilating Turkish Expeditionary Forces

Syrian Forces Strike Jeish Al-Fatah Militants in Hama Province

Militant Groups Withdraw from More Lands Southwest of Syria’s Aleppo

Syrian Ground, Air Forces Target Militants’ Centers in Hama Province

Senior Militant Commander Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Hama

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North America

‘In this fight together’: Sikhs join Muslims to combat hate crimes in US

Do not blame Islam for terrorism, says Obama

Muslim Americans struggle with fallout from California shooting

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Pakistan

Religious festivity: ‘Follow Data Sahib’s teachings on tolerance’

Sectarian terror revisits Parachinar

Nawaz willing to go extra mile for Pak-India peace: Experts

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claims responsibility for deadly blast in Shia dominated area in Pakistan

Terrorist killed in Sheikhupura operation

Shop owner held for putting up ‘hate notice’

PTI to hold pro-Rangers demo on Sharea Faisal today

Sindh leading in sending terrorists to the gallows

Five TTP men arrested in Ziarat

Imran urges youth to work for humanity, national progress

No answers for revenge-seeking APS massacre parents

CEO Abdullah in China for Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

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India

Muslim men fear arrest, sleep away from home

Sufism more relevant today, says Winkel

3 cadres of Muslim terror outfit held

Madrassa students get trained to aid in time of natural calamity

Taslima Nasreen exposes hypocrisy of India’s so-called secularists, shares video of ‘Muslim fanatics’

Rajasthan: Four arrested for ‘shouting’ pro-ISIS slogans at a rally

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Southeast Asia

Islamic State grooming children for terror: Malaysian police

Hardliners portraying Islam in bad light, says Zahid

Malaysia Estimates it has up to 50,000 Islamic State Sympathizers

Malaysia, other Muslim nations should be in forefront of global halal industry, says Ahmad Zahid

Indonesia fighting an uphill battle against Islamic State – Siktus Harson

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South Asia

Afghan forces battle to hold off Taliban in Helmand

Parliament criticizes Pakistan for interfering in Afghan affairs

Kabul attack not to derail talks: US

US special forces secretly take more role in suppressing militants in Helmand

President Ghani returns to country after inaugurating ground-breaking TAPI project

Shannon meets Khaleda, leaves without briefing

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Africa

Iran calls on Nigeria to respect religious figures, sites

ISIL eyes oil as it advances to Libyan interior

Clashes erupt as CAR holds ‘make-or-break’ vote

Islamic Movement Leader Arrested by Nigerian Army

Rival Libyans urged to adopt U.N. unity plan

South Africa’s president replaces finance minister, again

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Europe

Kerry: Trump ban on Muslims ‘endangers national security’

Russian warship fires shots at Turkish vessel

French far-right fails at regional election run-off

Merkel wants to ‘drastically reduce’ refugee arrivals

Russia summons Turkish military envoy

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:

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Mideast

 

45 dead in Saudi-led raids on Yemen capital

December 14, 2015

SANAA – Twenty civilians were among at least 45 people killed in Saudi-led air strikes on the rebel-held armed forces headquarters in the Yemeni capital on Sunday, a medic said.

The raids on the army headquarters in central Sanaa came a day after the kingdom’s air defences shot down a Scud missile fired from the war-torn country.

They also followed the UN confirmation of June 14 as the start date for peace talks between warring Yemen factions in Geneva, which both the country’s Shiite Huthi rebels and its exiled government said they will attend.

“At least 20 civilians and 25 soldiers and officers were killed” in four raids that hit the headquarters in the Tahrir residential neighbourhood in central Sanaa, the medic said.

The raids hit residential buildings, including five houses that were completely destroyed, witnesses said.

The rebel-controlled Saba news agency said 44 people were killed and more than 100 wounded “including woman and children”.

In the south, coalition jets targeted rebel positions on the northern and western outskirts of second city Aden in support of southern fighters backing exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Fighters from the southern Popular Resistance were attempting to prevent rebels from advancing towards the neighbourhoods of Al-Masnoura, Dar Saad, Sheikh Othman and Al-Buraiqa, according to a pro-Hadi military commander.

“Several Huthi rebels and allies were killed or wounded,” said General Fadhl Baesh.

Riyadh said the Huthis fired a Scud missile at Saudi territory Saturday, a day after their rebel allies killed four Saudi soldiers in cross-border attacks.

Yemen has been engulfed in turmoil since the Iranian-backed Huthis seized the capital in September and advanced on the southern city of Aden, forcing Hadi to flee into exile in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi-led coalition has carried out air strikes on Yemen since March 26 to push back the Huthis and restore Hadi’s authority.

More than 2,000 people have died since the air campaign began.

The United Nations has urged Yemeni parties to engage in talks in Geneva without preconditions.

http://nation.com.pk/international/14-Dec-2015/45-dead-in-saudi-led-raids-on-yemen-capital

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US, Turkey failed to inform UNSC about Daesh oil smuggling: Russia

Dec 14, 2015

Russia says both the US and Turkey failed to inform the UN Security Council (UNSC) about the illegal smuggling of oil from the territories held by Takfiri Daesh terrorists in Syria and Iraq although they were obliged to do so under international law.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Vitaly Churkin made the remark in an interview with Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency, which was published on Monday.

“Under Resolution 2199, which was adopted in February at our initiative, countries must provide information [about financing for terrorists] to the Security Council if they have such information,” Churkin said.

“That means the Americans had to provide such information, and of course Turkey, which should have reported any illegal [oil] trade going on there. They didn’t do it,” he added.

“Together with the Americans, we’re drafting a new resolution tightening regulations on that kind of reporting. Possibly we could oblige the [UN] secretary general to deliver regular reports on the issue, or it would be some sort of counter-terrorist agencies. We hope to adopt this resolution on December 17,” the Russian envoy said.

Russia, which has been carrying out an aerial campaign against Daesh and other terrorist groups within Syria since September 30, has on several occasions accused Turkey of buying illegal oil from Daesh. The terrorist group is smuggling oil from the areas that it has overrun in Iraq and Syria and is selling it to middlemen in the region.

Russian military planes have repeatedly targeted trucks used by Daesh to smuggle oil, including a convoy of some 500 trucks, which they destroyed last month.

Russia has repeatedly said that Washington is aware of the smuggling of illicit oil into Turkey from Daesh-occupied territories in Syria and Iraq, blaming the US for attempts to cover up the illegal trade.

Turkey has rejected oil trade with Daesh, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that he will step down if the accusation is proven to be true.

Earlier this month, the Russian Defense Ministry presented evidence of oil being smuggled by Daesh to Turkey. In reaction, the US special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, Amos Hochstein, claimed that the quantity of oil trafficked into Turkey from Syria is “of no significance from a volume perspective – both volume of oil and volume of revenue.”

The UNSC adopted Resolution 2199 in a bid to cut funding for Daesh, the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front based in Syria and other al-Qaeda-linked groups. The resolution urges countries not to buy oil or antiquities from the terrorists and refrain from paying them ransoms. It also stipulates that if any individual or state is involved in such activities with the terrorists, they must be charged as accomplices of Daesh.

aesh terrorists, who have seized swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, have also extended their terror activities to other countries, including Libya. They are engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/14/441657/Russia-US-Turkey-UNSC-Daesh-oil-trade

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Israel strikes Gaza in response to rocket fire

14 December 2015

Israeli warplanes hit Hamas bases in the Gaza Strip overnight, following a Palestinian rocket attack on Israel, the Israeli army said on Monday.

“Yesterday evening…a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel,” a military statement said. “No injuries were reported.”

“In response to the attack, Israel Air Force aircraft targeted two Hamas military posts in the northern and central Gaza Strip,” it said.

The army statement said that it was the 21st rocket fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza since the start of the year.

“The Israel Defence Forces hold Hamas responsible and accountable for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip,” it said.

Palestinian officials in Gaza said that the Israeli strikes damaged a training camp of Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, and of its naval force, but caused no injuries.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/14/Israel-strikes-Gaza-in-response-to-rocket-fire-.html

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UAE, Saudi Colonels Killed in Yemeni Forces’ Attacks

Dec 14, 2015

Colonel Sultan Mohammed bin Havidan al-Kotobi was among over 150 Saudi-led troops killed in the Yemeni forces’ attack on the coalition’s military positions in the Southwestern Yemen, the Arabic-language al-Masira news channel quoted UAE army sources as saying.

The UAE armed forces also acknowledged that another army high-ranking officer named Colonel Sultan Mohamed Ali al-Kotobi was killed in the province of Ta’iz in Yemen on Sunday.

Meantime, Saudi army’s Colonel Abdullah al-Sahyan was killed in Yemeni missile attack near Al-Amri military base in Bab al-Mandeb region.

Al-Sahyan succumbed to his injuries before a Saudi-led coalition helicopter could transfer him to a nearby hospital.

On October 23, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) acknowledged that its army has sustained more casualties in Yemen.

An Emirati soldier named Hamoud Saleh al-Ameri succumbed to the injuries he received last September in Yemen’s Ma’rib province, the UAE army announced.

Al-Ameri was undergoing treatment in Germany.

Also in early October, an official Emirati report said that the fatalities of the UAE military men killed in clashes with the Yemeni forces had risen to 70.

“Most of the fatalities are related to the Yemeni missile strikes on an arms depot in the Central parts of Ma’rib province on September 4 that left 54 Emirati soldiers killed,” the UAE Center for Studies and Information Dissemination said.

The UAE government, however, declined to announce the exact number of the Emirati soldiers injured in Yemen.

On September 4, the security sources revealed that the Yemeni forces killed a sum of 300 foreign troops, including 54 UAE soldiers, in their attack on al-Safer military base in Eastern Yemen.

The death toll of the UAE, Saudi and Bahraini officers and soldiers killed in September 4’s arms depot blast at a military base in al-Safer in Ma’rib province stood at 300, Yemeni security sources said.

The revolutionary forces in Yemen said they fired a rocket at a weapons cache in a camp used by “the Saudi-led aggressors” in Ma’rib area.

The Yemeni sources noted that high death toll of the foreign troops was the result of the ballistic missiles blast caused by Yemeni missile attack.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000469

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Iran Rejects Allegations about Withdrawing Military Advisors from Syria

Dec 14, 2015

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s military advisors will continue presence in Syria to help the Syrian government with the war on terrorism,” an informed official told FNA on Monday.

His remarks came after Bloomberg news channel quoted US officials as claiming that they are seeing significant numbers of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps troops retreat from the Syrian combat zone in recent weeks, following the deaths and wounding of some of top officers in a campaign against militant forces supported by the West and Persian Gulf Arab States.

After Bloomberg’s claims, Israel’s Ynet used it as a platform to claim that Iran is withdrawing from Syria because many officers have been killed or wounded in the heavy fighting this fall, alleging once again that the Iranian troops need a morale boost after IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani was injured late November in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, a claim which has been strongly rejected by the IRGC and its Quds force.

The allegations come at a time when the Syrian army, popular forces and Hezbollah backed up by the Russian air force and receiving Iranian military recommendations, strategies and combat tactics have scored a growing number of victories in almost all lines of engagement, specially in the provinces of Aleppo, Lattakia, Hama and Damascus.

Syrian terrorists claimed in November that they had killed Iranian Qods chief, the commander of Iranian forces in Iraq and Syria, Gen. Qassem Soleiman, in the fighting East of Aleppo. Their claim was not confirmed by any other source.

The Israeli Debka file also released the terrorists’ rumor, claiming that they struck his car with a TOW missile.

But a well-placed source in the Iranian IRGC strongly rejected the rumors as “ridiculous”, stressing that “the brave commander is alive and safe”.

“General Soleimani is alive and safe,” the source told FNA English after terrorist groups and an Israeli website claimed that the Iranian major general has been killed in Aleppo in Northern Syria.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000328

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Iran Voices Deep Regret over Massacre of Shiite Muslims in Nigeria

Dec 14, 2015

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari expressed deep regret over the Nigerian army’s Saturday and Sunday clampdown on Shiite Muslims that killed and wounded a large number of Muslims and prayers in Zaria city, and underlined the necessity of respect for religious sites and figures.

“As an important member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Nigeria is now facing problems that have resulted from Takfiri extremism and terrorism and we hope that in such conditions, restoring calm and national solidarity in the fight against terrorism will be prioritized and hasty and unconstructive measures will be avoided,” he added.

His remarks came after the Nigerian army forces arrested Leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky after raiding his house and killing his assistants and followers.

“The Army forces opened fire at those present in Zakzaky’s house, killing and wounding a large number of people,” a member of the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) told FNA on Sunday.

According to him, the soldiers opened fire on local residents who were trying to protect the Shiite cleric.

A local resident told FNA that Sheikh Zakzaky’s wife, Zinat Ibrahim, and his fourth son, Ali, were killed in the last raid on his house on Sunday.

Ali’s three elder brothers were all martyred by the Nigerian army in their raid on the last year’s Tasoua and Ashoura mourning ceremonies marking the martyrdom anniversary of Shiite Islam’s third Imam, Hossein Ibn-e Ali (AS). Ali was taken by plain clothes regime forces and kept in an unknown place for some time during the last year raid.

Also, eyewitnesses said that Sheikh Mahmoud Mohammad Touri and Dr. Mostafa Saeed, the Nigerian leader’s deputy and physician, respectively, as well as Osman Ibrahim and Jemi Glima were among those killed in the raid.

Witnesses also said that the army surrounded the Leader’s house after multiple raids Sunday.

“All those inside the house were killed and Sheikh Zakzaky was arrested and taken away by the soldier,” they added.

According to the locals, soldiers returned to the house and killed all those inside who had been wounded in previous raids. “No one is alive now,” they said, adding that tens of people have been killed in the army raids on the Sheikh’s house and two other Shiite religious center that started Saturday night through Sunday morning (local time).

The army raids followed its clampdown on Shiite Muslims in the country’s city of Zaria, Kaduna State, in which at least 15 people were killed and many more injured.

“At noon today (Saturday) armed soldiers were seen in the precincts of Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, Zaria, where members of the Islamic Movement were to hoist flag to usher in the new month of Maulud, the birth of the Holy Prophet of Islam,” Islamic Movement Spokesman Ibrahim Usman said in a statement.

“Similar occasion was previously carried out on the same spot with free traffic flow under the supervision of the Movement’s traffic warders,” he added.

“When some brothers met the soldiers to ask for their mission, they took position and opened fire indiscriminately, killed many and took away seven of the casualties to an unknown location,” Usman said.

“Based on the foregoing, we believe that the military had pre-planned this and had acted according to their mischievous script. They came with their cameramen, videotaping the whole incidence while it lasted.”

“We are however surprised that, spokesman of the military Colonel Kuka Sheka shamelessly came out in the media and issued a press statement to say, that it was an assassination attempt on the Chief of Army Staff at the order of the movement’s leader.”

“Why was it that there were no casualties on the side of the military, if it were to be an assassination attempt? What happened was never a clash, but a continuation of act of terrorism by the Nigerian military on the Movement, as was the case in the past.”

“We are not surprised by this action, as there were reports spread by the same military the night before that the Shiites were to avenge their dead by hired thugs on Friday in Gabari, a village in Zaria.”

“The same military also spread rumors that the Shiites had killed soldiers, all in attempt to justify today’s (Saturday’s) dastardly act.”

“Kuka Sheka should know that once bitten twice shy. The 2014 massacre of 34 members of the Islamic Movement, including three of Sheikh Zakzaky’s children by the military; the attempt on Sheikh Zakzaky’s convoy by the same military are still in our minds.” “No government can flourish successfully with disoriented military, full of trigger-itchy personnel and security operatives trained by CIA and Mossad.”

“Until the present government fishes out this cabal in the military and brings the culprits to book, we will believe the government is condoning violence and terrorism on innocent citizens.”

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000209

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Yemen ceasefire to begin Monday at midnight

14 December 2015

A ceasefire in Yemen is set to begin Monday at midnight on the eve of U.N.-brokered peace talks in Switzerland, a government delegate at the negotiations told AFP.

“We hope the militias will commit to the ceasefire this time,” said Mueen Abdulmalek referring to Iran-backed militia forces in Yemen.

A presidency official confirmed the truce would begin at midnight local time (2100 GMT) based on an agreement between President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Yemen’s U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

However, it remains unclear if Houthi militias and allied forces – renegade troops still loyal to former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh – would commit to the halt in fighting.

On Saturday, a spokesman for the Houthi’s Ansarullah party, Mohammed Abdulsalam, said fighters would only lay down their arms if “aggression” by a pro-Hadi forces stopped.

There was also no word from a Saudi-led coalition, which has conducted air strikes against the militias since March, despite reassurement last week by the U.N. envoy that Riyadh had promised to pause its aerial assault during talks.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/14/Yemen-ceasefire-to-begin-Monday-at-midnight-.html

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16-year-old Palestinian attempts stabbing in West Bank, is shot

13 December 2015

A 16-year-old Palestinian attempted to carry out a stabbing attack near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in the occupied West Bank Sunday before she was shot, Israeli and Palestinian authorities said.

Palestinian security sources named her as 16-year-old Hebron resident Lama al-Bakri.

“A stabbing attempt was thwarted,” the Israeli army said in a statement, without providing her condition.

A spokeswoman for the Hadassah hospital said the assailant was being transferred to the Jerusalem facility, with her condition unknown.

Further details on the incident were not immediately available.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/13/16-year-old-Palestinian-attempts-stabbing-in-West-Bank-is-shot-.html

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Freedom of speech in Egypt worse than Mubarak era: Author

Dec 13, 2015

The government of President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt is manipulating the public with theories that the world is conspiring against the North African country while it is severely restricting the freedom of expression, says a renowned Egyptian writer, novelist and political activist, Alaa al-Aswany.

The author of the best-selling Yacoubian Building made the remarks on Sunday after the Egyptian government pressured a cultural institution in the northern city of Alexandria to cancel an event, at which he was scheduled to talk last Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

He added that the authorities banned him last year from appearing on TV channels or getting published in Egyptian newspapers.

“Freedom of expression is at its lowest point, worse than in the days of Hosni Mubarak,” country’s long-time dictator, who was ousted in the 2011 revolution, Aswany further said.

Since Sisi’s inauguration in June last year, requests for appearing on TV programs and writing for newspaper columns have mostly ceased, he noted.

Some of the newspaper managers “told me directly that they’re under pressure and that they’re unable to have a contract with me,” he said. As for TV appearances, “a friend of mine, a very famous anchor, told me they don’t want me to appear on TV.”

Aswany, a highly critical figure of Sisi’s policies, has won numerous international awards for his literary works.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/13/441615/Egypt-Alaa-alAswany-Mubarak-Sisi-Morsi

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Arab World

 

Dozens of civilians killed in Syrian rebel stronghold

13 December 2015

At least 45 civilians were killed Sunday in heavy bombardment of a Syrian rebel stronghold east of Damascus that also struck a school, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rockets fired by regime forces rained down on the towns of Douma, Harasta, Saqba and Arbin in the opposition-held Eastern Ghouta region.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said air strikes also hit the towns, but it was unclear whether they were carried out by Syrian or Russian warplanes.

At least 10 children and four women were among the dead, and dozens of people were wounded, he said.

“One of the air strikes on Douma hit near a school, killing the school’s principal,” Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Men carried children across the dust-covered rubble of destroyed buildings in Douma, whose streets were littered with debris and shards of glass, according to an AFP photographer on the scene.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/13/Monitor-Strikes-on-Syrian-school-district-other-areas-kill-28.html

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U.S.-led coalition conduct 22 air strikes on ISIS

14 December 2015

The United States and its allies conducted 15 air strikes in Iraq and seven in Syria against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Saturday, the coalition leading the operations said.

Six strikes in Ramadi hit multiple ISIS targets, the Combined Joint Task Force said on Sunday, as Iraqi forces attempt to retake the city from the militants.

Other air strikes in Iraq hit near Mosul, Fallujah, Sinjar, Tal Afar, Sultan Abdallah, Rawah and Qayyarah, the coalition said in a statement.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/14/U-S-led-coalition-conduct-22-air-strikes-on-ISIS-tagets.html

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Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Continues Mop-Up Operations Countrywide

Dec 14, 2015

The army units carried out massive military operations in Homs, Damascus, Aleppo, Deir Ezzur, Lattakia, Dara’a and Idlib

Homs

Over 35 Takfiri militants turned themselves in to the Syrian authorities in Homs province on Sunday as the terrorists continue to lose ground in the country.

Informed sources said the militants surrendered to the competent authorities in the province.

The recent victories of the Syrian army and National Defense Forces (NDF), with the back up of the Russia fighter jets, have caused a growing number of militants to lay down their guns and apply for government pardoning.

Meantime, the Syrian Air Force strikers destroyed the positions of the Takfiri terrorists in a strategic town in the province of Homs on Sunday, killing a large number of the militants and destroying their military vehicles.

The Al-Nusra Front’s strongholds were struck by the Syrian air force in the Ezzeddin town in Homs province near the border with the province of Hama.

The Syrian fighter jets also destroyed the Al-Nusra Front’s military positions in Teir Ma’ala and Jawalak in the Northern parts of Homs province today.

Tens of terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured in the Syrian airstrikes in Northern Homs.

Also, the Syrian Air Force conducted several combat flights over the ISIL strongholds in the Western and Southern parts of the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) and hit them heavily.

The ISIL gatherings in the Southern and in the Western countryside of Palmyra in Hayal mountain came under heavy bombardments by the Syrian warplanes.

The ISIL sustained a heavy death toll in the air raids.

Damascus

Several terrorists were killed after the Syrian army repelled an offensive by the ISIL in the region of Qalamoun in Damascus countryside.

The Syrian army forces opened heavy fire on invading ISIL militants in Qalamoun, killing and wounding several militants.

The Syrian army fired dozens of artillery shells at the terrorists’ positions in Damascus province on Sunday, inflicting heavy losses on the Takfiris.

Meantime, the Syrian army fired scores of artillery shells at terrorists’ positions and mortar launchers in Ein Terma, Jobar and Zamalka in Damascus countryside.

The positions were reportedly used by the terrorists to launch their mortar attacks against civilians.

The Syrian army also fired tens of artillery shells at terrorists’ positions in Douma, Saqba and Hamouria in Damascus countryside.

Aleppo

The Syrian army continued to tighten noose on the Takfiri terrorists in Aleppo city on Sunday, and destroyed their command posts and killed scores of the militants.

Terrorists’ command posts were destroyed with all weapons and ammunition inside them in the Syrian army’s operations in the neighborhoods of al-Sheikh Lutfi, al-Ramouseh, Salah Eddin, al-Rashideen, al-Fardous and al-Salehin in the city of Aleppo.

The Syrian army also killed all the 18 terrorists who were inside the command posts.

The terrorists’ mortar launchers were also destroyed in the army’s attack on their positions.

Meantime, Syrian warplanes airstrikes destroyed the Takfiri terrorists’ military positions and strongholds in strategic villages East of Aleppo province on Sunday.

At least 25 ISIL terrorists were killed and many more were injured as the Syrian fighter jets struck the ISIL’s concentration centers in the villages of Ein al-Jamajmeh, Eisha, Najara, Serhan and Jeb al-Qahwa in the Eastern Aleppo province.

The terrorists’ military hardware and equipment were also destroyed in the Syrian warplanes’ raids on the Takfiri terrorists’ positions in the Aleppo province.

The Syrian army and the country’s air force, in massive offensives, razed down to the ground the positions of the ISIL and al-Nusra terrorist groups in different parts of the Aleppo province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000310

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Syria: Militants in Homs Surrender to Government

Dec 13, 2015

Informed sources said the militants surrendered to the competent authorities in the province.

The recent victories of the Syrian army and National Defense Forces (NDF), with the back up of the Russia fighter jets, have caused a growing number of militants to lay down their guns and apply for government pardoning.

Last week, militants began evacuating Homs province in Central Syria under a deal signed with the government later in November.

Reports said the large convoy of retreating rebels are leaving Homs City for Idlib in Northwestern Syria.

Al-Wa’ar was the only remaining base of the militants in the city of Homs.

As the army scores more wins across Syria more militants lay down arms to save the lives. Some 200 wanted militants from Zabadani region and Madaya in Damascus province surrendered on Friday.

“The Syrian government has vowed to pardon all those who lay down arms voluntarily and it has remained loyal to its pledge so far, and this has encouraged us to give up fight, specially considering that the government troops, National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah who also enjoy the air backup of the Syrian and Russian air forces has gained momentum in its battlefield victories,” one of those who surrendered in Damascus on December 5 said.

Until last year, most surrendering cases happened in Homs and Damascus provinces, but now a growing number of militants lay down arms across the country.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940922001441

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Egypt lawyer challenges law that says writers can be jailed

13 December 2015

An Egyptian lawyer on Saturday challenged a law that allows writers to be jailed for violating public morals, requesting the suspension of a case against an author on trial for work that prosecutors say is sexually explicit.

Nasser Amin made the motion in court during the trial of Ahmed Naji, who faces up to two years in jail and a fine up to 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,245) if found guilty of violating a law that says individuals can be punished for publishing material contrary to public morals.

Amin requested a constitutional court review the law, citing two articles in the constitution that prohibit imprisonment for published material, except for cases that encourage violence, are discriminatory and in incidents of defamation.

The case stems from an excerpt of Naji’s novel, “The Use of Life,” published in Akhbar al-Adab magazine in August 2014. It contains explicit sex acts and references to habitual hashish use by the characters.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/13/Egypt-lawyer-challenges-law-that-says-writers-can-be-jailed.html

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25 dead as Kurram bomb targets ‘supporters of Syria’s Assad’

December 14, 2015

KURRAM/PESHAWAR – As many as 25 persons were killed and 76 injured yesterday by a powerful bomb blast in Parachinar in what the claimants called ‘a revenge attack’ on the supporters of Bashar al-Assad’s Shia regime in Syria.

The bombing came at the old Thall Adda (bus terminal) near Eidgah Bazaar of Parachinar, the main town of Kurram Agency.

The explosive device was covered in a piece of cloth and placed at a point where a large number of people were busy buying household stuff for winter, according to local journalists and political administration.

As many as 16 people either died on the spot or before reaching the agency headquarter hospital. Mehtab Khan, spokesperson of political administration in Kurram Agency, told The Nation that the death toll had risen to 25 while 76 injured were being treated.

The top government official in the region told media that the blast took place in a market known for selling second-hand woolen items. “Twenty-five people have so far lost their lives,” Amjad Ali Khan said.

Local television footage showed hundreds of male marketgoers fleeing the area, which was strewn with clothing and debris from the bomb as police tried to cordon off the location and ambulances rushed to the site.

Sajjad Hussain, 43, who owns a shop at the market, said he was bringing tea from a nearby stall when the blast went off. “The explosion was huge, it threw me back five feet and human flesh and blood hit my face and body, I was covered all over,” he told AFP in the Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar, where he was being treated for shrapnel wounds to his legs.

Twenty-four-year old Aftab Alam, who cleans vehicles at the market, said he was sitting in a van when he heard the blast. “There was a loud bang and something hit my shoulder, a pool of blood was coming out of my shoulder and when I stepped out of the van there was dust and smoke and everybody was screaming,” Alam told AFP at the same hospital.

“The air was filled with the stench of burnt human flesh and blood,” he said.

In the wake of difficulties due to remoteness of the area, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor directed for shifting the critically injured to Peshawar through helicopter. ISPR said an army aviation helicopter shifted 23 injured to Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.

Soon after the incident personnel of Khasadar Force as well as security forces rushed to the blast site and cordoned off the area and arrested two suspected persons. According to bomb disposal squad around 35 kilograms of explosive material was used in the attack.

The political administration has announced compensation of Rs 300,000 each for the heirs of those who had lost their lives and Rs 100,000 each for the injured.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office issued a statement condemning the blast, which received widespread condemnation from political leaders across the country.

“Our resolve to eradicate the menace of terrorism is getting stronger and stronger with the loss of innocent lives and sacrifices of the officials of Pakistan Army and law enforcement agencies,” the statement said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/14-Dec-2015/25-dead-as-kurram-bomb-targets-supporters-of-syria-s-assad

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Kuwait upholds sentence in mosque bombing

December 14, 2015

KUWAIT CITY – Kuwait’s appeals court Sunday upheld the death penalty for the main organiser of the bombing of a Shiite mosque claimed by the Islamic State group that killed 26 people.

The court however reduced the death sentence handed out to the alleged leader of IS in Kuwait, Fahad Farraj Muhareb, to 15 years in prison.

A lower court in September issued the death penalty to Muhareb and Abdulrahman Sabah Saud, who drove the suicide bomber to the mosque site on June 26. It also handed out jail terms of between two and 15 years to eight others, including five women, and acquitted 14 others. In Sunday’s ruling, the appeals court acquitted one of the five women. There was tight security for the hearing, with armoured vehicles outside the Kuwait City court complex and helicopters patrolling overhead. Judge Hani al-Hamdan said that the cases of five men sentenced to death in absentia for their role in the bombing were not reviewed because they remained at large.

Full report at:

already issued several verdicts on IS supporters and financiers.

http://nation.com.pk/international/14-Dec-2015/kuwait-upholds-sentence-in-mosque-bombing

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Reports Say Turkey Withdrawing Troops from Northern Iraq

Dec 14, 2015

Reports said on Monday that the Turkish military began their withdrawal from Iraq’s territory at 5 in the morning.

Member of the Iraqi parliament Salem Al-Shabak announced that Turkish troops have fully withdrawn from Zalkan military camp.

The withdrawal of Turkish forces was reached as an agreement between the central government in Baghdad and Kurdistan’s regional government

“Only Turkish advisers and technicians will remain at the military base as per the agreement,” the reports said.

Last week, Turkey dispatched its battalion of hundreds of soldiers to an area near the city of Mosul in Nineveh province on the pretext of providing military training to the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

Iraq’s popular forces had vowed to strike at Turkish troops and Ankara’s interests if the latter continued to ignore calls for immediate pullout from Northern Iraq.

Last night, Head of Iraq’s Badr Organization Hadi al-Ameri warned that his forces will strike and destroy Turkey’s aggressive troops deployed in Northern Iraq.

“The Iraqi popular and security forces can raze the Turkish troops from the face of the earth completely,” Ameri said on Sunday.

He referred to the rallies held by the Iraqi citizens in Baghdad in recent days to condemn the presence of Turkish forces in their country, and said, “The Iraqi people’s rallies mean their support for the government’s action to force out the Turkish forces and end the violation of the country’s sovereignty.”

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000577

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Iraqi Popular Forces’ Top Commander Warns of Annihilating Turkish Expeditionary Forces

Dec 14, 2015

“The Iraqi popular and security forces can raze the Turkish troops from the face of the earth completely,” Ameri said on Sunday.

He referred to the rallies held by the Iraqi citizens in Baghdad in recent days to condemn the presence of Turkish forces in their country, and said, “The Iraqi people’s rallies mean their support for the government’s action to force out the Turkish forces and end the violation of the country’s sovereignty.”

Ameri’s warning came after Turkey refused to withdraw its battalion of hundreds of soldiers dispatched to an area near the city of Mosul in Nineveh province on the pretext of providing military training to the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

Also on Friday, the Iraqi volunteer forces reiterated that the presence of foreign forces in Iraq is regarded as an act of aggression, and said the Iraqi government should take the necessary measures to expel the Turkish troops and “if these forces do not leave Iraq, they will see the harsh reaction of the Iraqi popular forces”.

In relevant remarks last Monday, Ameri also warned that his forces are fully prepared to launch strikes at the US military bases and Turkish troops in Iraq.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000411

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Syrian Forces Strike Jeish Al-Fatah Militants in Hama Province

Dec 14, 2015

Concentration centers of Jeish al-Fatah in the farms North of Abu Obeida village in Mahardah region came under the attacks of the Syrian government forces, which left many terrorists dead and wounded.

The army and its allies also clashes with the militant groups near Kafr Zita town and al-Zakat village.

Al-Zakat battle claimed the lives of at least 4 terrorists, while at least two other militants were killed in Kafr Zita battlefront.

The government forces also sustained injuries and were transferred to the military hospitals.

Sources said earlier today that the Syrian army, backed up by the country’s Air Force, stormed the concentration centers of the militant groups in the Northern territories of Hama province, and inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists.

The army said that the Syrian warplanes tracked the militant groups’ camps near the villages of Kafr Zita, al-Latamneh and Atshan, and targeted them heavily to pave the way for the country’s ground troops to break through the terrorist groups’ defense lines more easily and with lower casualties.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000474

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Militant Groups Withdraw from More Lands Southwest of Syria’s Aleppo

Dec 14, 2015

“The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) pushed back the militant groups from Marivdeh village South of the strategic city of al-Eis,” the sources said.

“The Syrian government forces took full control over the village after hours of fierce clashes with the terrorists group,” the sources added.

The sources went on to say that the militant groups sustained a heavy death toll and their military hardware was destroyed in the attack.

“The army and its allies have started mop-up operation near the village to hunt the remnants of the militants,” the sources added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000400

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Syrian Ground, Air Forces Target Militants’ Centers in Hama Province

Dec 14, 2015

The army said that the Syrian warplanes tracked the militant groups’ camps near the villages of Kafr Zita, al-Latamneh and Atshan, and targeted them heavily to pave the way for the country’s ground troops to break through the terrorist groups’ defense lines more easily and with lower casualties.

“Over 12 militants were killed or wounded in the Syrian air raids,” the army further added.

“Minutes after the bombardments, the Syrian army and National Defense Forces (NDF) staged heavy raids on the militants’ positions,” the army said.

“The pro-government forces destroyed at least two command centers and six military vehicles of Jund al-Aqsa and al-Izza terrorist groups in Latamneh,” the army went on to say.

The Syrian government forces’ victories against the militant groups across Syria, including Hama province, have been eye-catching in recent weeks and the terrorist groups are withdrawing form more positions under the heavy attacks of the Syrian ground force, backed up by the Syrian and Russian air forces.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000291

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Senior Militant Commander Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Hama

Dec 14, 2015

Mohammad Ibrahim al-Rayyes, a senior field commander of the terrorist groups in Hama province, was killed alongside at least seven other terrorists in the Syrian army’s offensive, the sources said.

“The militant group’s military hardware also sustained serious damage in the army operations,” the sources added.

The Syrian government forces’ victories against the militant groups across Syria, including Hama province, have been eye-catching in recent weeks and the terrorist groups are withdrawing form more positions under the heavy attacks of the Syrian ground force, backed up by the Syrian and Russian air forces.

On Sunday, the Syrian army troops and popular forces continued to tighten noose on the Takfiri militants in Hama province, inflicting heavy losses on them.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940923000242

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North America

 

‘In this fight together’: Sikhs join Muslims to combat hate crimes in US

Dec 14, 2015

Pardeep Kaleka spent several days after 9/11 at his father’s Milwaukee gas station, fearing that his family would be targeted by people who assumed they were Muslim. No Kaleka explained on behalf of his father, who wore a turban and beard and spoke only in broken English, the family was Sikh, a southeast Asian religion unrelated to Islam.

But amid a new wave of anti-Islamic sentiment since the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Kaleka is vowing to take an entirely different approach.

“For us it does not matter who they’re targeting,” said Kaleka, a former Milwaukee police officer and teacher whose father was one of six people killed in 2012 when a white supremacist opened fire at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. “This time we cannot differentiate ourselves; when hate rhetoric is being spewed we cannot be on the sidelines.”

Across the US, Sikhs and Muslims are banding together to defend their respective religions. Someone bent on harming Muslims wouldn’t understand — or care — about the distinction between the two faiths, they say, and both also deserve to live in peace.

So they plan educational sessions and rallies. They successfully pushed the FBI to track hate crimes against Sikhs. They speak to lawmakers and support each other’s legal action, including a lawsuit filed over a New York City Police surveillance program targeting New Jersey Muslims.

“We are in this fight together,” said Gurjot Kaur, a senior staff attorney at The Sikh Coalition, founded the night of September 11.

Sikhism, a monotheistic faith, was founded more than 500 years ago in southeast Asia and has roughly 27 million followers worldwide, most of them in India.

There are more than 500,000 Sikhs in the US. Male followers often cover their heads with turbans — which are considered sacred — and refrain from shaving their beards.

Reports of bullying, harassment and vandalism against Sikhs have risen in recent weeks.

Last week, a Sikh temple in Orange County, California, was vandalised, as was a truck in the parking lot by someone who misspelled the word “Islam” and made an obscene reference to Islamic State.

A Sikh woman said she recently was forced to show her breast pump before taking her seat on an airplane in Minneapolis because another passenger thought she might be a terrorist. Several Sikh football fans said they were initially not allowed into Qualcomm Stadium to watch the San Diego Chargers game against the Denver Broncos last Sunday because several of them were wearing turbans. Schoolchildren say they’ve been bullied.

For most Sikhs, much of the backlash has been frequent stares or comments and occasional online insults.

Former NCAA basketball player Darsh Singh said he has heard insults throughout his life, including recently when someone recently yelled “Osama!” at him while he was crossing a street in Phoenix.

Then last week, a photo making the rounds on Facebook showed the former Trinity University basketball player — the first turbaned Sikh to play in the NCAA — with the caption: “Nobody wants to guard Muhammad, he’s too explosive.” A friend came to his defense with a lengthy post, saying, “Do the world a favour and educate yourself” — which got tens of thousands of likes.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world/us-sikhs-feel-vulnerable-band-with-muslims-to-combat-hate-crimes/story-OWfbGzbG7acCc1QEmuTXUK.html

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Do not blame Islam for terrorism, says Obama

Dec 14, 2015

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama warned Americans on Saturday that they would be playing right into the hands of extremists if they blamed Islam for recent terrorist attacks.

In a radio address to the nation, President Obama reminded US citizens it were groups like the militant Islamic State (IS) who were depicting the fight against terrorism as a war between Islam and the West.

“Terrorists like IS are trying to divide us along lines of religion and background. That’s how they stoke fear. That’s how they recruit,” he warned.

This was President Obama’s third address to his nation since last week’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 Americans were killed. In every speech, Mr Obama urged the West, as well as the Muslim world, not to allow the extremists to turn this into a religious war, as doing so would hurt all.

“And just as Muslims around the world have to keep rejecting any twisted interpretation of Islam, all of us have to reject bigotry — in all of its forms,” he said. “I’ll say it again, prejudice and discrimination helps IS and it undermines our national security.”

Terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and in Paris, last month, have increased anti-Muslim feelings in the West.

But President Obama pointed out that Americans across the political spectrum — Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives — were also standing up, forcefully, to religious bigotry.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226016/do-not-blame-islam-for-terrorism-says-obama

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Muslim Americans struggle with fallout from California shooting

Dec 14, 2015

With tears in her eyes, Mohammad Halisi’s young daughter asked her father “Why are we bad?” after seeing reports that a Muslim couple killed 14 people in California last week, and wanted to know whether she should hide the fact she is Muslim from others at her school.

Recalling the conversation while choking back his own tears, the 61-year-old father said he felt frustrated that he and his family were being held responsible for the actions of people he branded “a couple of idiot terrorists”.

“It’s getting to a point where you have to hide who you are,” Halisi said on Friday night at the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco mosque where leaders and law enforcement met to address negative perceptions of the Muslim community. “Seven-year-old kids cannot say they’re Muslims because of the bad atmosphere we have.”

The mosque is just 40 km from San Bernardino, where United States (US)-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his Pakistani-born wife Tashfeen Malik, 29, opened fire on his co-workers last week in what the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is treating as an act of terror.

Malik had pledged allegiance to the militant Islamic State group on Facebook around the time of the attack and the FBI believes the two had been radicalised for some time.

Muslim Americans across the country have said they are worried about a backlash, as happened in the aftermath of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.

A handful of incidents at mosques and a rash of anti-Muslim political rhetoric over the last week appear to be compounding their fears of growing Islamophobia.

On Friday, a fire burned the entrance to a mosque in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, some 120km from San Bernardino.

A 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson and for committing a hate crime, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A pig’s head was thrown at a mosque in Philadelphia on Monday and a mosque in Jersey City, New Jersey received a letter calling Muslims “evil” and telling them to “go back to the desert”.

Several US mosques this year have been subjected to protests by armed groups.

On Saturday, a group of fewer than 10 people, some wearing camouflage and rifles slung over their shoulders, stood outside a mosque in the Dallas suburb of Richardson and held signs and American flags, according to images and reports from local media.

Full report at:

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/12/13/uncategorized/muslim-americans-struggle-with-fallout-from-california-shooting/

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Pakistan

 

Religious festivity: ‘Follow Data Sahib’s teachings on tolerance’

By Imran Adnan

December 3, 2015

LAHORE: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar inaugurated a mehfil-i-sama on the second-day of Hazrat Ali Hajveri’s urs celebrations on Wednesday.

The ceremony started with recitation of the Holy Quran. The recitation was followed by naat and qawali performances.

The arrival of devotees from across the country continued on the second day. Thousands visited the shrine and laid floral wreaths on the tomb. Alongside mehfil-i-sama, large crowds were drawn to dhamal performances outside the shrine complex.

Speakers at various sessions held on the second day urged the devotees to spread Islam’s message of peace the world over. They emphasised the importance of tolerance for others beliefs and practices.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1002867/religious-festivity-follow-data-sahibs-teachings-on-tolerance/

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Sectarian terror revisits Parachinar

December 14, 2015

PARACHINAR: At least 25 people were killed and 62 injured on Sunday when a device containing about 35 kilograms of explosives ripped through a makeshift market in Parachinar town of Kurram tribal region, residents and hospital sources said.

Officials said that the device kept in a sack exploded when a large number of people were buying second-hand clothes.

A huge pall of black smoke and dust enveloped the entire area after the blast. According to witnesses, pieces of human flesh lay scattered everywhere.

Israr Hussain, head of the bomb disposal squad, told reporters that 35 to 40 kilograms of explosives had been used in the device.

In a rather unusual development, two militant groups claimed responsibility for the attack, with one of them saying the target was the Shia community.

The groups identified themselves as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Al Alami and Ansarul Mujahideen based in South Waziristan Agency.

A statement released to a foreign media channel and attributed to the spokesman for the Jhangvi group, Ali bin Sufian, said the attack had been carried out against the Shia elements who were supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian government. “We warn … parents that if they don’t stop their children from ongoing (sic) conflict in Syria they should remain prepared for more such attacks,” Sufian said.

25 killed, 62 wounded in market blast; man, three sons among the dead

Officials confirmed 19 deaths, but they said they feared the death toll could rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition. One of the officials said that 62 wounded had been brought to the agency headquarters hospital in the town.

In a statement issued in Peshawar, the ISPR said that 23 seriously wounded people had been airlifted by two helicopters.

Rescue 1122 said that 17 of the injured had been shifted to CMH Peshawar.

A family from Zeran Village near Parachinar lost four members — the father and three sons. They were in the market when the blast occurred.

Several people died on the spot and many others were declared dead on their arrival at the hospital.

Security forces cordoned off the area after the explosion which also damaged a number of vehicles.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226275/sectarian-terror-revisits-parachinar

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Nawaz willing to go extra mile for Pak-India peace: Experts

December 14, 2015

SHAFQAT ALI

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is willing to go extra mile for peace with India, close aides said yesterday.

Last week, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Pakistan to attend the ‘Heart of Asia Conference.’ She also met Prime Minister Sharif and his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines.

This was the first visit by an Indian external affairs minister to Pakistan in more than three years and also the first significant engagement between the two nuclear-armed nations since Prime Ministers Sharif and Narendra Modi met in Ufa, Russia, in July last.

Days ahead of Swaraj’s visit, a chance meeting between Sharif and Modi in Paris on the sidelines of the climate change conference, revived the hope among peace lovers on both sides of the border. Later, the National Security Advisors of the rivals met in Bangkok discussing terrorism and Kashmir.

In between the Ufa and Paris meetings of the two premiers, the two countries were at loggerheads and at some points the regional peace was threatened as crossfire on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary escalated.

At the height of the tension, the neighbours cancelled a scheduled meeting between the NSAs as India protested against Islamabad’s plan to meet the All Parties Huriyat Conference leaders on the sidelines.

Successful talks between Swaraj and Aziz opened the doors for further talks and the two nations agreed to launch a comprehensive dialogue process to settle all the issues on the table.

A close aide of Prime Minister Sharif told The Nation that the premier was eager to make the dialogue process move forward.

“The PM thinks it is the right time to forget the past and move on. Without deviating from Pakistan’s principled stance on Kashmir, he is willing to contribute in whatever way he can to make the talks process a success,” he added.

The close aide said Sharif had directed his diplomatic team to stop sticking with non-issues and concentrate on the main topics.

“He thinks, if the two countries can reach a compromise on Kashmir, all other issues will automatically get resolved. The PM is not against business with India on the sidelines of serious talks,” he said.

Asked what Sharif meant by going the extra mile, he said, “Being allout for the dialogue and facilitating it to the maximum. This doesn’t mean any compromise on the stated position.”

Senator Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayum (retd) said India had revised its policy towards Pakistan and there was a hope for improvement in relations.

“India faced massive pressure from the international community to reinitiate dialogue with Pakistan; whereas, the internal circumstances also forced New Delhi to change its attitude towards Islamabad,” he said.

The Senator said Indian history was quite unpredictable because they stop negotiations process without any right reason.

He said recently, Indian Prime Minister Modi accepted their involvement in the creation of Bangladesh. “If India is sincere in dialogue then it should maintain a suitable environment for the success of these talks,” he added.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/14-Dec-2015/nawaz-willing-to-go-extra-mile-for-pak-india-peace-experts

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Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claims responsibility for deadly blast in Shia dominated area in Pakistan

Dec 14 2015

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), A Sunni militant group, has claimed responsibility for a deadly explosion in a Shia dominated area of Pakistan.

Ali Bin Sufiyan who identifies himself as spokesperson for LeJ has said in a message sent to media that they had planted an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in Eidgah Bazar of Parachinar in retaliation for Shia support to Iran and Bashar al-Asad.

“We claim responsibility for the Eidgah Bazar, Parachinar bomb blast. It was a revenge of the crimes against Syrian Muslims by Iran and Bashar al Assad.”

Sufiyan has warned more attacks in his message. “We warn the Shia parents that if they don’t stop their children from participating in the war of Bashar al-Assad, they would face more attacks like this,” the message adds.

Sunday’s blast in Parachinar city of Kurram agency left 23 people killed and dozens of others wounded.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/lej-claims-responsibility-for-blast-in-shia-dominated-area-in-pakistan-4392

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Terrorist killed in Sheikhupura operation

December 14, 2015

SHEIKHUPURA:- A terrorist was killed in a shootout with the Law Enforcement Agencies and three others managed to escape here in Safdarabad area in the wee hours of Sunday, officials said.

A policeman also sustained gunshot wounds in the incident.

The officials said that the dead terrorist was affiliated with the outlawed outfit TTP.

They said the operation was carried out following a tip-off about the presence of terrorists in the area.

As the terrorists saw the LEAs personnel, they opened fire, leaving a policeman critically injured.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/14-Dec-2015/terrorist-killed-in-sheikhupura-operation

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Shop owner held for putting up ‘hate notice’

December 14, 2015

LAHORE: Police claimed on Sunday to have arrested a suspect involved in putting up a notice against a religious minority group outside his shop in Gulberg.

According to a news release, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Dr Haider Ashraf took notice of the pasting of a poster outside a shop in Hafeez Centre declaring Ahmadis “infidels” and banning their entry in the shop.

The DIG directed the Model Town Division Superintendent of Police (SP) Mustansar Feroze to arrest the suspect. The SP constituted a police team led by Gulberg Station House Officer (SHO) Yousuf Butt.

SHO Butt conducted a raid on the shop and arrested the suspect identified as Abid Hashmi and registered a case under sections 295-A of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 16 of the MPO against him.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226221/shop-owner-held-for-putting-up-hate-notice

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PTI to hold pro-Rangers demo on Sharea Faisal today

December 14, 2015

KARACHI/Hyderabad: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf announced on Sunday that it would stage a protest demonstration on Sharea Faisal on Monday against the Sindh government for not extending special policing powers to the Rangers.

Speaking at a press conference, PTI leader Imran Ismail said that extending powers to the Rangers was necessary for the peace in Karachi and if the Sindh government failed to extend the powers his party would lodge a series of protests not only in the assembly but across the province.

He said that it was because of the Rangers that the peace had finally returned to the city, but the Pakistan Peoples Party government was making an issue of the Rangers power since their action against corruption had directly affected the PPP leadership.

The Sindh government was evading the extension of powers to the Rangers to hide its corruption and incompetency and trying to make the operation controversial, he added.

He announced that the PTI would organise a first protest demonstration at Star Gate on Sharea Faisal.

Speaking on the occasion, PTI leader Faisal Vawda said that if the powers of Rangers were not extended the PTI would spread its protest across Sindh.

ST protests against Sindh govt

Activists of Sunni Tehrik staged a protest demonstration at Hyder Chowk on Sunday against the delay in extension of special policing powers to the Rangers by the Sindh government.

The demonstration was led by ST’s district coordinator Mohammad Imran Suharwardi. Protesters raised slogans against the Sindh government and in support of the army and Rangers.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226192/pti-to-hold-pro-rangers-demo-on-sharea-faisal-today

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Sindh leading in sending terrorists to the gallows

KHAWAR GHUMMAN

December 14, 2015

ISLAMABAD: As per latest statistics collected by the Ministry of Interior, Sindh has over the past five years led in sending terrorists to gallows, followed by the three other provinces and independent administrative regions.

The PPP-ruled province, according to the ministry’s figures, also has more terrorists awaiting execution than the rest of the country.

Until the last week of November Sindh carried out capital punishment in 106 cases, followed by Punjab with 64 terrorists.

The Islamabad Capital Territory, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan each have sent one terrorist to the gallows. Not a single death punishment has been carried out in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) during this period.

Same is the case regarding the number of terrorists awaiting execution. Here, Sindh stands out with 98, Punjab 81 and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 25. Balochistan and Islamabad each have one condemned prisoner. There is no terrorist on death row in Fata, AJK and GB.

During the PPP government at the centre (from 2008 to 2013) there was an unannounced moratorium on the death penalty. Though the figures are of the past five years, most of these executions have been carried out after the terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December last year.

With 11 military courts set up under the 21st Amendment in January this year, the number of terrorists facing death penalty is likely to go up in coming days.

The latest figures released by ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) over the weekend said that of the 142 cases of terrorism heard by military courts 55 had been finalised and 87 were in process.

Military courts convicted 31 terrorists, 27 of them have been executed and four sentenced to life imprisonment.

On Dec 8, Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif signed the death warrants of another four terrorists.

In the category of terrorists killed in actions carried out by law-enforcement agencies, Fata leads with 2,530, followed by Balochistan with 435, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 351, Sindh 342, Punjab 90, Islamabad 7, AJK 3 and GB 1.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226283/sindh-leading-in-sending-terrorists-to-the-gallows

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Five TTP men arrested in Ziarat

December 14, 2015

QUETTA: Security forces on Sunday arrested five suspected militants of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Ziarat.

Official sources said that the arrests were made during a search operation launched by Frontier Corps personnel in Aghbarg area of Ziarat district on an intelligence report about the presence of TTP suspects.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226278/five-ttp-men-arrested-in-ziarat

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Imran urges youth to work for humanity, national progress

December 14, 2015

Said Alam Khan

PESHAWAR – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has asked youth to come forward and play a leading role in the country’s development and serving humanity. “Besides eliminating corruption, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is also focusing on providing quality education and best health facilities to people of the province,” he said.

The KPK government, he said, would plant around 1 billion trees by 2018, so that to counter the global warming, as Pakistan is among the top 10 countries feared to be the worst affected by global warming.

He said this while addressing at the Islamia College, Peshawar, here yesterday.

The PTI chief avoided to talk on politics and advised youth to play their role in the development of the country and services of humanity. “Let us join in tree plantation so that to set an example to the rest of the world,” he advised the students.

Imran said that the provincial government was determined to reform education and health sectors, but unfortunately, it faces opposition from mafias. The provincial government would fight against those who are creating hurdles in this regard.

He asked Vice Chancellor of Islamia College University to use properties of the college properly to generate endowment funds, which, he said, could be used scholarships to deserving students.

He revealed that the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital Peshawar will be inaugurated on December 29.

He also said that there are a number of wealthy people but they don’t spend money on humanity. “Those who work for the services of people and spend on humanity earn good name,” he said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/14-Dec-2015/imran-urges-youth-to-work-for-humanity-national-progress

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No answers for revenge-seeking APS massacre parents

December 14, 2015

PESHAWAR  – Peshawar’s parents are seeking retribution: not only from the Taliban gunmen who slaughtered their children one year ago, but from a state they say has not yet answered for the nightmare they are still living.

The massacre saw nine extremists scale the walls of an army-run school in Peshawar, lobbing grenades and opening fire on terrified children and teachers, murdering them one by one before being killed by security services.

Many of the mothers and fathers of more than 130 children murdered in the December 16 attack are ethnic Pashtun, their lives infused with the tribal code of ethics of which badal — or revenge — is a cornerstone.

As such they take grim satisfaction in knowing that the military has wreaked its vengeance on the insurgents with hangings, arrests, and an offensive in the tribal areas where militants had previously operated with impunity.

But the same parents are railing against a deafening silence from authorities over how a security apparatus put in place to protect them could have failed their children so completely.

“At least someone at some level was responsible.

Why don’t they talk about it?” asks Abid Raza Bangash, whose 15-year-old son Rafiq was among those slaughtered.

The assault — in which 134 children and 15 adults died — shocked and outraged people across the country, already scarred by nearly a decade of attacks, and prompted a crackdown on extremism in civil society.

But no government, security or military official has yet been held to public account.

Bangash left his job as an engineer to become head of the Shuhada (Martyrs) Forum, a lobbying group of parents of the victims who gather on the 16th of every month in the city’s cultural centre, Nishtar Hall.

“We want a fact-finding inquiry commission headed by a senior judge to probe this incident.

The findings of that commission should be made public,” he told AFP.

“Still my heart is crying,” he says, remembering his bright son.

“How can I forget him?”

In August, after a military trial that took place behind closed doors, the army announced that six militants linked to the Peshawar assault would be executed, while a seventh was given a life sentence.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/14-Dec-2015/no-answers-for-revenge-seeking-aps-massacre-parents

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CEO Abdullah in China for Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL

Dec 14 2015

Leading a high-level government delegation, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah has arrived in China for Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit opened on Monday in Zhengzhou City of Henan province.

CEO Abdullah Abdullah will brief participants of the meeting on the recent developments in Afghanistan. He will also discuss the political and economic cooperation of the SCO member countries with Afghanistan.

On the sideline of the meeting, the CEO is expected to talk to Chinese officials about the peace and reconciliation process of government with Taliban and strengthening relations between the two countries.

China is one of the stakeholders of the peace and reconciliation process between Afghan government and Taliban.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/ceo-abdullah-in-china-for-shanghai-cooperation-organization-sco-4391

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India

 

Muslim men fear arrest, sleep away from home

Eram Agha

Dec 13, 2015

ALIGARH: Over a month after clashes erupted here, normalcy has not returned to many Muslim homes. On November 12, a 22-year-old was killed after a clash erupted over the bursting of crackers for Diwali. After that, police arrested 13 people. FIRs were lodged against 1,000 unidentified men. Many Muslim men fear that if they stay home, the police will come knocking. To avoid arrest, many in Sarai Mian are choosing to stay away from home, as much as possible. The local cleric (shehr mufti) has now written to the Aligarh SSP, seeking assistance for these fearful men.

Mufti Mohammad Khalid Hameed, in a letter to SSP J Ravinder Goud, said, “It is unfortunate that a brawl over a minor issue turned into a communal clash. Though the administration did a good job of not letting the situation get out of hand, there is fear in Muslim families that police may implicate youth in criminal cases. Women are left alone at night. This is a troubling situation. I expect police will probe the matter fairly.”

SSP Goud told TOI, “We have got a letter from the shehar mufti. There will be an impartial inquiry.”

Many men in Sarai Mian have taken to just visiting their homes briefly, ever since the communal clashes left the whole of Khaitikan Mohalla in tension.

A large contingent of policemen had been posted in the area after the clash. Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, barring large gatherings, had been imposed. Besides the 1,000 unidentified men, police had lodged cases against 45 men who were named.

The family of the youth who died had lodged a case against seven men who were named, and five unidentified men. The case was initially filed under Section 307 (attempt to murder); after the youth died, it was converted to Section 302 (punishment for murder). Under Section 302, those convicted could get either the death sentence or imprisonment for life, besides fine. The accused were to be tried under the SC/ST Act, which does not offer anticipatory bail.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/Muslim-men-fear-arrest-sleep-away-from-home/articleshow/50163808.cms

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Sufism more relevant today, says Winkel

December 11, 2015

Sufism is not an impractical philosophy, its relevance is felt more today than before, writer and Islamic thinker from the U.S. Erik Shu’ayb Winkel has said.

Inaugurating the Mahabba Conference as part of the 20{+t}{+h}anniversary celebrations of the Madin Academy here on Wednesday, Mr. Winkel said love was the basis of Islamic spirituality. More than being tolerant, extending love was the need of the hour, he said.

Mr. Winkel said learning history in its original spirit and learning about leaders who played an important role in history was the best way out to clear misconceptions about Islam.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sufism-more-relevant-today-says-winkel/article7973720.ece

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3 cadres of Muslim terror outfit held

Dec 13, 2015

Guwahati: Three cadres of Muslim Tiger Force of Assam (MTFA) were arrested in Chirang district of BTAD in a joint operation by the Army and state police.

Following intel reports regarding movement of suspected MTFA cadres travelling towards Manikpur from Salbari, a joint mobile check-post was set up early on Saturday.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/3-cadres-of-Muslim-terror-outfit-held/articleshow/50160150.cms

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Madrassa students get trained to aid in time of natural calamity

Dec 13, 2015

BAREILLY: Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, one of India’s leading Islamic organization, is giving training to students enrolled in government-aided madrassas to become scouts and guides. The madrassa students are being trained to help people during emergencies and natural calamities including floods and earthquakes.

At present, the Jamiat is offering training to 50 students enrolled at madrassa Ashfaqia in Bareilly. Similar training had already been given at government-aided madrassas located in Shahjahanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. The members of the organization said that they will carry out this training at government-aided madrassas, schools and colleges across the country.

Talking to TOI, Mohammed Touheed, Bareilly secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and teacher at madrassa Ashfaqia said, “Authorities at many schools and colleges of the country train their students to become scouts and guides, but students enrolled in madrassas are deprived of such training. However, if they are trained, they can assist local administration at the time of emergencies and natural calamities, which can strike anytime.”

At madrassa Ashfaqia situated at Qazi Tola locality of the old city, 50 male students between 12 and 17 years of age are being trained to aid people in emergencies. In the three-day training programme which began on Saturday, students are being taught to make stretchers with cloth and wood pieces, carrying patients to hospital, saving a burn victim or someone rescued from drowning and other tips that will come in handy at the time of natural calamities.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Madrassa-students-get-trained-to-aid-in-time-of-natural-calamity/articleshow/50163207.cms

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Taslima Nasreen exposes hypocrisy of India’s so-called secularists, shares video of ‘Muslim fanatics’

By Tarun Khanna

December 14, 2015

New Delhi: Noted Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen on Sunday shared a video on Twitter in which a few ‘Muslim fanatics’ are seen demanding arrest of the author over the sale of her controversial book ‘Lajja’ at an exhibition put up by Teachers Federation at Sundarya Vigyana Kendram in Hyderabad.

However, what most the protesters in the video failed to realise is that the book is not banned in India.

Full report at:

http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/intolerance-row-taslima-nasreen-shares-video-of-muslim-fanatics-questions-silence-of-indian-secularists_1834047.html

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Rajasthan: Four arrested for ‘shouting’ pro-ISIS slogans at a rally

Dec 13, 2015

Four persons were arrested for allegedly shouting pro-ISIS slogans at a rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk district, police said on Sunday. The accused identified as Firoz, Wasim, Wasim Akram and Mohammad Fahid, all aged between 25-32 years, were arrested on Saturday night after their names cropped up in a probe, investigating officer Gopi Chand said.

Four accused along with several others allegedly shouted pro-ISIS slogans during a rally on Friday in Malpura town.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/rajasthan-four-arrested-for-shouting-pro-isis-slogans-at-a-rally/

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Southeast Asia

 

Islamic State grooming children for terror: Malaysian police

14 Dec 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Children as young as two years old are being trained at camps in Syria and Kazakhstan to become the next generation of terrorists, according to Malaysian police.

The camps were possibly set up three years ago, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, a senior counter-terrorism official, said during a seminar in Kuala Lumpur.

He showed a video of children receiving military training and swearing allegiance to Islamic State and its leader.

“The children are just beginning to walk and they are being taught to use firearms. Imagine how their children are being brought up. Ten to 15 year-olds. Their psychological approach is strong,” he said.

One child was heard speaking Bahasa Indonesia and Mr Ayob said the language was being used to reach out to those from Southeast Asia.

The development is worrying, according to Prof Greg Barton, the Chair in Global Islamic Politics at Deakin University, and a sign of the extent of the threat posed by Islamic State.

“It’s not surprising but it’s worrying to have these confirmations. It’s sickening to think about what’s happening to these young lives, how many years they’re going to be troubled and how this is going to trickle down possibly through generations,” he said.

“Children radicalised at this age are going to be, at the very least, traumatised throughout their lives. These are going to be deeply radicalised individuals and if they survive, they are going to be very effective doing their grim business. We’ve seen this with child militias in the past.

Full report at:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/islamic-state-grooming/2344854.html

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Hardliners portraying Islam in bad light, says Zahid

BY KC NAZARI

14 December 2015

The deputy prime minister said some of the hardliners have portrayed Islam in a bad light and added that the time has come for Muslim to erase Islamophobia “from the memory of non-Muslims”.

“Now it’s time Islamophobia be deleted from the memory of non-Muslims. Islam never teaches us to be involved with engage with Daulah Islamiyah or Isis.

“Islam never taught us to kill others,” he said, at the Halal Conference, organised by the Standards and Metrology Institute for the Islamic Countries (SMIIC) in Kuala Lumpur.

“The problem is some of the hardcore are painting negative perception towards Islam, including the halal products,” he added.

Zahid said Muslims should not be controlling the world through military might, but instead work together with the rest of the world, particularly in expanding the reach of halal products and services.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/hardliners-portraying-islam-in-bad-light-says-zahid

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Malaysia Estimates it has up to 50,000 Islamic State Sympathizers

December 13th, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday at a conference on national security and the threat of ISIS in Kuala Lumpur, that there are an estimated 50,000 Islamic State (ISIS) sympathizers in Malaysia.

Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the influence of ISIS among Malaysians is a real threat that cannot be ignored.

“If only 1 per cent turn radical and if they attack any part of Malaysia we will be in trouble,” he cautioned.

According to a report released this month by New York-based security consulting firm The Soufan Group, about 100 Malaysian citizens are estimated to have traveled to join ISIS in Syria.

More than 100 suspected militants have been detained, the Malaysian police have said.

Associate Professor Sundramoorthy, from Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Research Team on Crime and Policing, said some of the suspected militants have gone beyond the scope of religion.

Many think ISIS champions the rights of Islam but it has got to do with social injustice, economic inequalities, political suppression and other reasons. But unfortunately, religion has been used as an anchor to all these motivations, he said.

Earlier this year, Malaysian police foiled an ISIS terror plot to attack the Saudi Arabia and Qatar embassies in Kuala Lumpur.

Full report at:

http://www.chiangraitimes.com/malaysia-estimates-it-has-up-to-50000-islamic-state-sympathizers.html

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Malaysia, other Muslim nations should be in forefront of global halal industry, says Ahmad Zahid

14 December 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and other Muslim nations should be in the forefront of the global halal industry, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pix).

The deputy prime minister said halal was not about one country’s agenda but the concerted efforts of many nations.

“These efforts will require, among others, structured capacity building programmes and an efficient and seamless global supply chain to propel halal from its current niche into the mainstream of global economics and industry,” he said.

He was launching the two-day Standards and Metrology Institute for the Islamic Countries Halal Conference here today.

Ahmad Zahid said the halal industry was not confined to food but also covered services, namely finance and banking, insurance, education and training, research, certification, consultancy, logistics and healthcare, as well as travel and tours.

He hoped Malaysia and other Islamic nations would work together, including sharing ideas and knowledge, to lead in the industry.

He said Islamic nations were now lagging behind in seizing halal economy opportunities while non-Muslim international companies were now leading the industry.

“Many Islamic scholars have produced the idea of halal industry, but we are being left behind as the non-Muslim companies are grabbing the market.

“We (Muslim countries) need to be together and synchronise our efforts to be in the forefront of the halal industry,” he said, stressing that a holistic approach was needed.

Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia’s promotion of the global halal economy was an important element in its Global Movement of Moderates to subdue the Islamophobia that became worse because of the acts of certain terrorist groups.

Full report at:

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1636877

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Indonesia fighting an uphill battle against Islamic State – Siktus Harson

13 December 2015

Its latest attack in Paris on November 13, killed 129 and injured hundreds of others, and drew worldwide condemnation, including from Indonesia’s Sunni community that comprises the majority of the country’s Muslims. There is no doubt that the IS group manipulates Islamic teaching to stir chaos and install its politics of violence against humanity.

Despite this knowledge of brutality and terror, it is indeed surprising that there are many Indonesians joining or casting their support for such a radical movement.

Indonesian coordinating minister for political and legal affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan revealed recently that about 800 Indonesians had joined the IS group in Syria. More than 100 have since returned home.

Unlike the Isis-influenced bombing of a Shia festival in Bangladesh or the beheading of a Malaysian national in the Philippines, the Isis militant group in Indonesia at this stage has not shown off its power. But one thing for certain is is that Indonesia could be sitting on a time bomb.

Early this year, Ansyaad Mbai, former director of the anti-terrorism agency, uncovered 16 radical groups – including the East Indonesia Mujahideen – that had been initiated and had declared loyalty to Isis leader Abu Bakar Al-Baqdadi.

The East Indonesia Mujahideen is small in numbers but has still managed to launch attacks on police and military in Poso in Central Sulawesi province.

Last year, the anti-terror squad Densus 88 arrested four Turkish nationals suspected of being Isis messengers. Santoso, the group’s leader, is believed to have received financial support from the Isis group to expand its proxy in Indonesia.

Terrorism expert Sidney Jones warned that although the number of Isis-affiliated individuals in Indonesia is relatively small and have not carried out any significant activities, they have the potential to breed new jihadists and re-activate a terrorism seed that is still alive in Indonesia.

Such a warning is becoming more relevant considering that 10 million Indonesians favour the Isis cause, according to a recent Pew Research Poll survey released in November.

Pew’s poll may have revealed the tip of an extremism iceberg, an extremism that has grown since Suharto’s dictatorial regime ended in 1998. The Internet and social media have allowed jihadists a platform to promote their propaganda.

Since Indonesian authorities have monitored the movement of radical groups on the Internet and social media, the Isis group has shifted its approach to meeting face-to-face with families who are trapped in poverty – promising them high incomes and better education.

Most of the Isis-affiliated individuals or groups are unable to travel to Syria, due to tight travel restrictions. Instead, they stay home, wait and see what they can do next. Analysts said they have not openly planned attacks, but there is possibility of consolidating power.

Isis rising

The Isis movement began to surface in Indonesia, sometime in February 2014.

Immediately leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, two moderate Islam organisations with a combined membership of 120 million people, urged the government to ban Isis from expanding in Indonesia.

Leaders of both organisations, however, reminded the government and security forces that using military action is not the answer. They believe retaliation perpetuates the cycle of violence, just as what has happened in Iraq and Syria, where millions of people have been forced to flee to other countries. A better approach, they say, is through education.

In the past, radical groups – such as the al-Qaeda-funded Jemaah Islamiyah – could easily recruit young Muslims to Islamic boarding schools, mainly due to a poor state education system that led to an openness to radical ideologies.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/indonesia-fighting-an-uphill-battle-against-islamic-state-siktus-harson

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South Asia

 

Afghan forces battle to hold off Taliban in Helmand

December 14, 2015

LASHKAR GAH – Afghan forces are battling to hold Marjah district centre in the volatile southern province of Helmand that Taliban insurgents have cut off as part of a months-long campaign in which they have taken three districts and threatened the regional capital.

Helmand police chief Abdul Rahman Sarjang said on Sunday security forces were holding on in the governor’s compound and police and army headquarters but that surrounding areas were all in the hands of the insurgents.

“Afghan police and army have a presence in Marjah district centre and the rest is controlled by Taliban,” Sarjang said.

Helmand, an arid, semi-desert region and major centre of opium cultivation, has long been one of the Taliban’s heartlands and they have put increasing pressure on security forces since the withdrawal of international troops from combat last year.

Major Taliban attacks in Kandahar and the capital Kabul last week underlined the Islamist movement’s ability to strike high-profile targets and heaped pressure on the government of President Ashraf Ghani. But its steady advances in Helmand pose a potentially more serious threat to the US-backed government.

In a campaign with distinct echoes of the build-up to September’s attack on the northern city of Kunduz, their biggest success in the 15-year war, Taliban forces have picked off a series of districts around the provincial capital Lashkar Gah.

Over recent weeks, insurgents have taken the districts of Musa Qal’ah and Now Zad in the north of the province as well as Khanishin, a significant drug smuggling hub, to the south as they have tightened their grip on the province.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/14-Dec-2015/afghan-forces-battle-to-hold-off-taliban-in-helmand

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Parliament criticizes Pakistan for interfering in Afghan affairs

Dec 14 2015

After Presidential Palace “ARG” slammed Pakistan’s Minister of Defense for his remarks regarding the safety of trans-Afghan gas pipeline project, Parliament also strongly criticized Pakistan for interfering in Afghan affairs.

Abdul Rawouf Ibrahimi, speaker of Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of Parliament said during Monday’s session that Khwaja Mohammad Asif has clearly interfered in Afghan Affairs.

Ibrahimi said that Asif asks terrorists for safety of TAPI project. “We condemn the act,” he added.

Mohammad Salih Saljuqi, another member of parliament while pointing to the matter said Afghan militant groups would be possibly benefited from TAPI project.

Haji Abdul Zahir Qadir also pointed to the matter. He said that government no more has control over foreign policy.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/parliament-criticizes-pakistan-for-interfering-in-afghan-affairs-4393

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Kabul attack not to derail talks: US

December 14, 2015

WASHINGTON: The latest terrorist attack in Kabul’s diplomatic enclave is unlikely to affect efforts to resume reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the US State Department said on Saturday “One attack would not, and should not, alter that momentum or dissuade people from continuing to try to achieve it,” the department’s spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing in Washington.

“In the past, I’ve never seen a single attack in Afghanistan have any practical effect on stemming that desire and that goal to get to a reconciliation process,” he added.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226011/kabul-attack-not-to-derail-talks-us

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US special forces secretly take more role in suppressing militants in Helmand

Dec 14 2015

The US Special Operations Forces have secretly taken more role in suppressing the growing insurgency activities by the anti-government armed militant groups in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, it has been reported.

According to Afghan and American officials quoted in a report by New York Times, the excessive central role taken by the American special forces is aimed at saving crucial areas of Helmand.

The officials further added that the engagement of American special forces during the pst weeks comes amid more aid power and ground troops committed to the battle.

Senior local Afghan government officials have said they are under orders not to divulge the level of cooperation, especially by Special Operations forces on the ground.

Quoting a Western diplomat, the Times reportedthat the elite ground units in Helmand include both Special Operations troops and the United States Air Force’s Special Tactics Squadron.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/us-special-forces-secretly-take-more-role-in-suppressing-militants-in-helmand-1807

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President Ghani returns to country after inaugurating ground-breaking TAPI project

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL

Dec 14 2015

Mohammad Ashraf Ghani returned to Kabul late Sunday after inaugurating the historic economic project of the region.

During his inaugural speech at the ceremony to open the construction work of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project in Turkmenistan’s Mary province on Sunday, President Ghani said the project will insure all four countries have carbon footprint.

“We are showing that we are determined to make our vision a reality,” he said at the ceremony also attended by Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimohamedov, Indian Vice President Muhammad Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister of Pakistan Mohammad Nawaz Sharif.

TAPI will change the economic landscape of the region, President Ghani added.

The $10 billion gas pipeline project supported by the United States and the Asian Development Bank is designed to transport 33 billion cubic meters of gas annually for a period of three decades to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

The construction of the pipeline with a length of 1,735 kilometers (1,084 mile) is scheduled to complete by the end of December 2018 but in case of difficulties its tenure would be extended for another year.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/president-ghani-returns-to-country-after-inaugurating-ground-breaking-tapi-project-4393

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Shannon meets Khaleda, leaves without briefing

December 14, 2015

United States Department of State official Thomas Shannon met BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan residence today.

The meeting started at 11:05am lasted for 45 minutes. Later, the US undersecretary of state for political affairs-designate left without talking to reporters.

BNP’s acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Standing Committee Member Moyeen Khan, Khaleda’s Adviser Sabih Uddin Ahmed and Reaz Rahman were present at the meeting.

After the meeting, Moyeen Khan told waiting reporters that talks took place on the grounds of peace, human rights and democracy in Bangladesh.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/city/us-undersecretary-shannon-meet-khaleda-today-187072

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Africa

 

Iran calls on Nigeria to respect religious figures, sites

Dec 13, 2015

Iran has called on Nigerian authorities to respect religious figures and sites following two days of deadly persecution against the country’s Shia Muslims.

“Nigeria… is now dealing with problems arising from extremism and Takfiri terrorism and we hope that in these conditions preservation of calm and national unity in battling terrorism is prioritized while rash and unconstructive measures are avoided,” IRNA quoted Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaber-Ansari as saying on Sunday.

Jaber-Ansari expressed sorrow over the recent bloody clashes, which broke out between Muslim worshipers and government troops earlier in the day.

Nigerian forces raided the home of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, and arrested him after reportedly killing several of those protecting him including one of the group’s senior leaders and its spokesman.

Since their arrest, the fate of Zakzaky and his wife remains unknown

The developments followed the Saturday clashes between troops and Shia Muslims in the country’s city of Zaria, in Kaduna state, in which at least 15 people were killed and many more injured.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/13/441617/Iran-Nigeria-Ansari–Zakzaky

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ISIL eyes oil as it advances to Libyan interior

14 December 2015

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday that ISIL was spreading from its stronghold on the Libyan coast to the interior of the country with the aim of getting access to oil wells.

“They are in Sirte, their territory extends 250 kilometres (155 miles) along the coast, but they are starting to penetrate the interior and to be tempted by access to oil wells and reserves,” Le Drian told RTL radio.

World powers are trying to convince Libya’s warring factions to lay down their weapons and fall behind a new national unity government, as ISIL-allied groups exploit the political chaos to take hold of parts of the country.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/167354/isil-eyes-oil-as-it-advances-to-libyan-interior

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Clashes erupt as CAR holds ‘make-or-break’ vote

December 14, 2015

BANGUI – Violence broke out in the Central African Republic capital Bangui Sunday as people voted in a referendum aimed at ending the nation’s bloody sectarian strife.

Five people were wounded in Bangui’s volatile Muslim-majority PK5 district where clashes broke out between supporters and opponents of the referendum on a new constitution.

Two were seriously wounded, according to a Red Cross employee who said fighting was continuing near the district’s main mosque.

Gunfire and grenade blasts were also heard in the Gobongo district, a stronghold of the Christian “anti-balaka” militia, a security source said.

Voting had yet to begin in the PK5 district, where a UN peacekeeping source said gunfire had erupted overnight.

Authorities were setting up an alternative polling station after the unrest forced the closure of a school where voting had been set to take place.

After more than two years of fighting that forced 10 percent of the population to flee the country, Sunday’s vote on a new constitution is seen as a test run for presidential and parliamentary polls in two weeks.

If adopted, the Central African Republic’s new constitution would usher in the country’s sixth republic since independence from France in 1960 but mark its 13th political regime in as many years.

The constitution would, among other things, ban “all form of religious fundamentalism and intolerance”.

The ballot comes two weeks after Pope Francis appealed to Muslims and Christians in the former French colony to live as “brothers and sisters”.

Despite the presence of 11,000 UN and French peacekeepers, part of the impoverished country remains out of bounds, under the control of either rebel chieftains or bandits.

UN peacekeepers must escort convoys of trucks carrying voting slips that leave every day from Bangui for the interior, given the volatile situation in parts of the country.

The widespread chaos has hampered organisation of the ballot by the country’s interim authorities, with few election posters visible on the streets just 48 hours beforehand.

More significantly, only 15,000 copies of the new constitution have been printed, meaning that few voters are fully aware of its contents.

Almost two million Central Africans have registered to vote in a population of 4.

8 million — spurring hopes the election will be the first step in a return to peace and normalcy.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/14-Dec-2015/clashes-erupt-as-car-holds-make-or-break-vote

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Islamic Movement Leader Arrested by Nigerian Army

Dec 13, 2015

“The Army forces opened fire at those present in Zakzaky’s house, killing and wounding a large number of people,” a member of the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) told FNA on Sunday.

According to him, the soldiers opened fire on local residents who were trying to protect the Shiite cleric.

A local resident told FNA that Sheikh Zakzaky’s wife, Zinat Ibrahim, and his fourth son, Ali, were killed in the last raid on his house today.

Ali’s three elder brothers were all martyred by the Nigerian army in their raid on the last year’s Tasoua and Ashoura mourning ceremonies marking the martyrdom anniversary of Shiite Islam’s third Imam, Hossein Ibn-e Ali (AS). Ali was taken by plain clothes regime forces and kept in an unknown place for some time during the last year raid.

Also, eyewitnesses said that Sheikh Mahmoud Mohammad Touri and Dr. Mostafa Saeed, the Nigerian leader’s deputy and physician, respectively, as well as Osman Ibrahim and Jemi Glima were among those killed in the raid today.

Witnesses also said that the army surrounded the Leader’s house after multiple raids today.

“All those inside the house were killed and Sheikh Zakzaky was arrested and taken away by the soldier,” they added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940922001352

———

 

Rival Libyans urged to adopt U.N. unity plan

13 December 2015

Diplomats from the United States, Europe and the Mideast met Sunday with leaders of Libya’s rival political factions to impress upon them the need to adopt a U.N.-brokered national unity plan aimed at rescuing the country from chaos and preventing Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists from gaining more ground.

“We call on all parties to accept an immediate, comprehensive cease-fire in all parts of Libya” and sign that deal, as they have pledged, in Morocco on Wednesday, the international participants said in a joint statement.

“We stand behind the Libyan people’s efforts to transform Libya into a secure, democratic, prosperous and unified state, where all its people can be reconciled, (and) state authority and the rule of law are restored.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni led the conference that included representatives from 17 nations, the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League and the United Nations. The officials later brought in 15 representatives from the Libyan sides.

“The leaders who are here, we are convinced, speak for most Libyans. Those leaders have endorsed what is the only legitimate basis for moving ahead,” Kerry said at a news conference. “We refuse to stand by and watch a vacuum filled by terrorists.”

The U.N. special envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler, mediated the session in Tunisia at which some 40 Libyan lawmakers from the two sides agreed to sign the deal.

Libya slid into chaos following the 2011 toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Since then, it has been torn between an internationally recognized government in eastern Tobruk and an Islamist-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, and now faces threats from ISIS extremists.

The U.N. plan calls for the creation within 40 days of a national unity government that would then seek security assistance from outside parties to ease the conflict and concentrate on ISIS. It would give the Libyans until early February to form a presidency council that would appoint a cabinet, including chiefs of the central bank and national oil company, and begin the process of moving the Tobruk-based parliament back to Tripoli.

Libya’s oil industry has been largely crippled by the crisis. Proper management, as well as that of the central bank, is considered essential to the country’s viability.

The plan would extend the reconstituted parliament’s term by one year and allow for an automatic one-year extension of its mandate beyond that, if necessary.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to approve of the agreement shortly after it is signed by the Libyans.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/13/Foreign-ministers-urge-rival-Libyans-to-adopt-U-N-unity-plan.html

———

 

South Africa’s president replaces finance minister, again

14 December 2015

South Africa’s president has replaced the country’s finance minister for the second time in four days.

On Sunday, President Jacob Zuma’s office announced that recently appointed finance minister David van Rooyen will be replaced by Pravin Gordhan, who previously served as finance minister from 2009 to 2014.

In a statement, Zuma said he received many proposals to reconsider his decision to install van Rooyen, a former mayor and member of parliament who served on financial committees.

Van Rooyen was sworn in last Thursday, after Zuma’s office announced late last Wednesday that sitting finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was fired.

The abrupt announcement to replace Nene saw South Africa’s currency reach record lows against the U.S. dollar.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/12/14/South-Africa-s-president-replaces-finance-minister-again.html

———

 

Europe

 

Kerry: Trump ban on Muslims ‘endangers national security’

13 December 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry slammed Donald Trump Sunday, saying the Republican frontrunner’s calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States “endanger national security.”

“To outright ban people, because they belong to one particular religion? That’s just stunningly contrary to the fundamental values of our nation, which were built on tolerance,” Kerry said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” program.

Trump called for the temporary ban earlier this week after a Muslim husband and wife killed 14 people in a shooting rampage in California that has been classified as a terrorist act.

The proposal, coming on the heels of other incendiary anti-Muslim remarks by the billionaire real estate tycoon, set off a firestorm both in the United States and abroad.

Kerry said Trump’s call “does endanger national security, because it exhibits an attitude by one American who is running for the highest office of our land about a willingness to discriminate against a religion.”

Speaking separately on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Kerry said Trump’s ban was “a very dangerous foreign policy.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/13/Kerry-Trump-ban-on-Muslims-endangers-national-security-.html

———

 

Russia summons Turkish military envoy

13 December 2015

A Russian destroyer in the Aegean Sea on Sunday used small arms fire to prevent a collision with a Turkish vessel, Moscow said, adding it had summoned Ankara’s military attache over the incident.

“The crew of the Russian patrol ship Smetlivy which was located 22 kilometres (13.7 miles) from the Greek island of Lemnos in the northern part of the Aegean Sea avoided collision with a Turkish seiner,” the defence ministry said, adding that the crew had fired small arms to warn the boat.

At 0603 GMT the Russian warship, which was at anchor, spotted a Turkish fishing boat some 1,000 metres away, the defence ministry said, adding the boat had been approaching it from the right.

“Despite numerous attempts by the Smetlivy, the crew of the Turkish seiner would not engage in radio contact and did not respond to special visual signals,” the ministry added.

Moscow said the crew had to fire small arms in the direction of the boat at “a guaranteed survivability distance” when there were some 600 metres between the two vessels “to prevent the collision of the ships.”

“Immediately after that the Turkish vessel drastically changed course and continued its movement past the Smetlivy at the distance of 540 metres without engaging in contact with the Russian crew,” the ministry said.

Deputy defence minister Anatoly Antonov summoned a Turkish military attache, it added.

The latest incident came after Turkey downed a Russian bomber at the Syrian border in November, leading to the biggest crisis in ties between the two countries since the end of the Cold War.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167330/russia-summons-turkish-military-envoy

———

 

French far-right fails at regional election run-off

13 December 2015

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front did not win any region in French elections on Sunday, in a setback to her hopes of being a serious presidential contender in 2017.

The regional election run-off, in which the conservatives won seven constituencies and the Socialists five, was no real victory for either of these two mainstream parties, shaken by the far-right’s growing appeal to disillusioned voters.

Boosted by fears about security and immigration after the Islamist militant attacks in Paris a month ago that killed 130 people, the National Front (FN) had won more votes than any other party nationally in last week’s first round.

Although it won no region on Sunday after the Socialists pulled out of its key target regions and urged their supporters to back the conservatives of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, the FN still recorded its best showing in its history.

“Tonight, there is no place for relief or triumphalism,” Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. “The danger posed by the far right has not gone away; far from it.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/13/France-s-far-right-fails-to-win-its-3-target-regions-exit-polls.html

———

 

Merkel wants to ‘drastically reduce’ refugee arrivals

14 December 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she wanted to “drastically decrease” the number of refugees coming to Germany, signaling a compromise to critics of her open-door policy from within her conservatives on the eve of a party congress.

Merkel has resisted pressure from allies within her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to put a cap on the number of refugees entering Germany, which is expected to top 1 million this year.

“At the same time we took on board the concerns of the people, who are worried about the future, and this means we want to reduce, we want to drastically decrease the number of people coming to us,” Merkel told broadcaster ARD.

Merkel, whose popularity has fallen over her handling of the refugee crisis, said the word “limit” did not feature in the CDU’s main resolution which will be debated at the two-day party congress starting on Monday in the southern city of Karlsruhe.

The chancellor added there was broad support in the CDU for her strategy to reduce the numbers.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/14/Merkel-wants-to-drastically-reduce-refugee-arrivals-in-Germany.html

———

 

Russia summons Turkish military envoy

Dec 14, 2015

MOSCOW: Russia warned on Sunday Turkey to stop staging what it called provocations against its forces in or near Syria after one of its warships fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean to avoid a collision.

The Russian Defence Ministry said one of its warships, the destroyer Smetlivy, had been forced to fire the warning shots on Sunday morning and that it had summoned the Turkish military attache over the incident.

“The Turkish military diplomat was given a tough explanation about the potentially disastrous consequences from Ankara’s reckless actions towards Russia’s military contingent fighting against international terrorism in Syria,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

Action termed a warning over Turkey’s ‘provocations near Syria’

“In particular, our deep concerns about more Turkish provocations towards the Russian destroyer Smetlivy were conveyed.”

Take a look: Russia, Turkey refuse to back down over warplane downing

Earlier on Sunday, the ministry said that a Turkish fishing vessel failed to respond to Smetlivy’s warnings and changed course sharply only after shots were fired before passing within just over 500 metres of the warship.

“Only by luck was tragedy avoided,” the ministry said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was in Rome for talks on Libya, said Ankara was investigating the matter and would make a statement once it had more information.

He also reiterated Turkey’s position that it wanted to resolve its difficulties with Russia.

“We want to solve the tension with dialogue,” he said, in comments broadcast by TRT Turk.

The incident is likely to heighten tensions between the two nations who are seriously at odds over Syria and the Turkish shooting down of a Russian military jet last month.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1226270/russian-warship-fires-shots-at-turkish-vessel

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/45-dead-in-saudi-led-raids-on-yemen-capital/d/105600

 

New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News

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