Taliban to Pursue Violence with Full Support of Pakistani Military Intelligence: Acting Afghan Intelligence Chief

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Supporters of the religious party Sunni Tehreek chant slogans during a sit-in protest near the parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday.(AP/Anjum Naveed)

 

Hundreds of Islamic Extremists Protest In Pakistan’s Capital

Evil ISIS Jihadis ‘Crucify’ Kidnapped Indian Catholic Priest on Good Friday

Saudi Nationals behind Global Terror Attacks: Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council

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South Asia

Acting NDS Chief Says Taliban to Pursue Violence with Full Support of Pakistani Military Intelligence

Nearly 100 Taliban Insurgents Killed, Wounded In Khanshin District of Helmand

Kabul Explosion Leaves 4 Killed, 15 Wounded

Nine Militants Killed, 3 Arrested By Security Forces In Nangarhar

President Ghani opens campaign for the cleaning of Kabul city

Taliban fire rockets at parliament in Kabul

Logar governor vows action against killers of Col. Mohammada Jan

NDS seized two weapons caches in Logar, arrested two suspects

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Pakistan

Hundreds of Islamic Extremists Protest In Pakistan’s Capital

Around 700 Pro-Qadri Protesters Remain In Islamabad’s Red Zone

Punjab crackdown is a national operation, says law minister

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India

Evil ISIS Jihadis ‘Crucify’ Kidnapped Indian Catholic Priest on Good Friday

Student Spread IS Ideology among Youths In Bengal: NIA

Modi to visit Saudi Arabia on invitation of King Salman

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian Petition: Strip ‘Anti-Muslim’ Suu Kyi of Nobel Prize

Thailand: 2 soldiers killed in majority Muslim south

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Arab World

Saudi Nationals behind Global Terror Attacks: Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council

Al-Nusra Front Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in North-western Hama

Syrian Army Moving towards Jisr Al-Shughour after Palmyra Victory

Homs: Syrian Army Captures Key Height

Deir Ezzur: Syrian Army Inflicts Heavy Losses on ISIL Terrorists

Rouhani: Iran Backs Permanent Ceasefire in Syria

IRGC Commander: Despite Nuclear Deal No Lifting of Sanctions

VP: Government Implementing Resistance Economy in Practice

ISIL Governor Killed in Nineveh Province

All Egypt Air Passengers except Crew and Four Foreigners Released

Egypt retires 32 judges for opposing Morsi ouster; Sisi sacks top auditor for criticizing government corruption

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Mideast

Three Syrian Children Killed, Six Wounded as Fire Erupts at Tent City in Turkey’s Southeast

Turkish PM Calls on People to Go Out To Spite Terror

Turkey in ring of fire, as security zone off Syria-Iraqi lines: PM

Turkey ‘cannot wait forever’ for a new constitution, says Deputy PM

New Charter Will Redefine Top Court, Judiciary, Turkish PM Says

CHP sends delegation to monitor Zarrab case in the US

Turkish president says 5,359 PKK militants ‘killed, caught or wounded’ over eight months

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Europe

Belgian Investigators Struggling To Uncover Jihadist Network

Fifty of Europe’s Most Dangerous Offenders Have Slipped Into Britain Undetected

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North America

US Government Accesses San Bernardino Killer’s Iphone, Drops Case Against Apple

US soldier shoots, kills boy near base in Afghanistan

Islamic Society Thanks Vandals Who Tagged Centre

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Africa

Islamic Movement In Nigeria Reject Any Kidnap Of Military Officers In Retaliation Of Illegal Arrest Of Sheikh Zakzaky

Ethiopia: The biggest recipient of Turkish direct investment in Africa

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/taliban-to-pursue-violence-with-full-support-of-pakistani-military-intelligence–acting-afghan-intelligence-chief/d/106802

 

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Taliban to Pursue Violence with Full Support of Pakistani Military Intelligence: Acting Afghan Intelligence Chief

By GHANIZADA – Mon Mar 28 2016

The acting Afghan intelligence chief Massoud Andarabi has said the Taliban group will pursue violence with the full support of Pakistani military intelligence, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

Briefing the Afghan lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament, Andarabi said the Taliban group will pursue violence in the summer as they are being supported by ISI and encouraged to increase violence and bring more areas under their control.

Andarabi further added that the enemies of the country were more hopeful last year considering the situation of the country as they eyed to capture more areas with persistent violence and increase their political legitimacy.

However, Andarabi said the offensive by the Taliban militants group was repulsed as they failed to have strategic gains.

This is not the first time top Afghan security officials are criticizing Pakistan for interfering in internal affairs of the country.

The Afghan officials have long been slamming Pakistan, specifically the country’s military intelligence for supporting the anti-government armed groups in Afghanistan.

The officials also criticize the Pakistani military intelligence for providing shelters to Afghan militant groups, specifically the Taliban group and the notorious Haqqani network who are blamed for deadly attacks in the country.

khaama.com/acting-nds-chief-says-taliban-to-pursue-violence-with-full-support-of-isi-0464

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Hundreds of Islamic extremists protest in Pakistan’s capital

Tue, March 29 2016

Hundreds of Islamic extremists who earlier violently protested in Islamabad over the hanging of a man who killed a secular governor continued their demonstrations in Pakistan’s capital on Tuesday, despite warnings from the government targeting extremists.

The rally by Pakistan’s Sunni Tehreek group saw more than 10,000 protesters enter Islamabad on Sunday, damaging buildings and bus stations. On Tuesday, local police official Mohammad Kashif said some 700 remained, bringing the most sensitive parts of the capital to a standstill.

The protesters are demanding Pakistan strictly enforce Shariah, or Islamic, law, after the hanging of police officer Mumtaz Qadri, who killed Gov. Salman Taseer in 2011. The group also demands a Christian woman named Aasia Bibi, who is accused of blasphemy and who Taseer supported, be hanged.

Tuesday’s sit-in continued despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s overnight warning that his government will fight extremists. His comments followed the massive suicide bombing that targeted Christians gathered for Easter in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, an attack that killed 72 people.

Hours after Sunday’s attacks, a breakaway Taliban faction, which publicly supports the Islamic State group, claimed responsibility, without offering further details. The attack shocked the nation and the army responded by launching raids on suspected militant hideouts in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital.

More than 300 suspects have been detained in the raids in the past 48 hours, a security official said. Another official also confirmed nearly 300 arrests and said most of those detained were suspected to belong to outlawed militant and extremist groups.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to publicly speak to journalists.

The military also had intensified its operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan in June 2014 following December 2014 attack on a school in the city of Peshawar that killed 150 people, mainly children.

thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/29/hundreds-islamic-extremists-protest-pakistans-capital.html

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Evil ISIS Jihadis ‘Crucify’ Kidnapped Indian Catholic Priest on Good Friday

Mar 29, 2016

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, 56, was kidnapped by Islamist gunmen reportedly linked to Islamic State (ISIS) earlier this month after attacking an old people’s home, killing at least 15 people.

The terrorists crucified Father Thomas on Good Friday after threatening to carry out the barbaric act earlier in the week, according to the Archbishop of Vienna.

It is not known how the Archbishop became aware of Father Thomas’ alleged fate, but his confirmation of the crucifixion during Easter Vigil Mass was reported in Austrian media.

A spokesperson for the cardinal today admitted that while he did say that the priest has been crucified, he has no confirmation of Father Thomas’ fate.

Arhdiocese Vienna’s head of media relations, Michael Prüller, said: “The cardinal based his statements on news published on Arabic language web sites.

“The validity of this information has, however, not been confirmed.

A Facebook post hoping for Father Tom’s release

Father Tom Uzhunnalil – an Indian national from Kerala was abducted by a terror group

Sushma Swaraj

“The cardinal doesn’t himself have any sources that have confirmed the death of Father Tom.

“Thus, for the time being, there’s still basis for hope that Father Tom is alive.”

Several religious groups reportedly received threats that Father Thomas would be crucified on Good Friday, but this was denied by his church in his hometown Bangalore, India.

The Indian government said it was “making all efforts” to secure the release of the Catholic priest.

The external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday confirmed the government was desperately trying to rescue the priest.

Mrs Swaraj said: “Father Tom Uzhunnalil – an Indian national from Kerala was abducted by a terror group in Yemen. We are making all efforts to secure his release.”

Authorities in Yemen blamed ISIS for the attack on a refuge for the elderly operated by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity which led to Father Tom’s abduction.

Father Tom had been brutally tortured by the sick jihadis since his abduction.

Four gunmen posing as relatives of one of the guests at the home burst inside, killing four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard.

The gutless group targeted defenceless residents at a Christian care home

Witnesses described the screams of patients echoing through the corridors, with one nun surviving the carnage after hiding in a storeroom fridge when a guard told her to run.

The senseless killings prompted an angry response from Pope Francis, who called for an end to the ten-month conflict in Yemen, which has allowed terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda to flourish.

More than 6,200 people have been killed in the conflict, half of them civilians.

A Christian group based in South Africa had reported that the priest now faced death by crucifixion over Easter – one of Christianity’s holiest celebrations.

The Franciscan Sisters of Siessen posted on Facebook: “Was informed that the Salesian priest, Fr.Tom who was kidnapped by ISIS from the Missionaries of Charity Home in Yemen is being tortured and is going to be crucified on Good Friday.

“This calls for serious concerted prayers from all of us.”

express.co.uk/news/world/656193/Tom-Uzhunnalil-crucified-ISIS-Good-Friday-Catholic-priest-Easter-Islamic-State

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South Asia

Acting NDS Chief says Taliban to pursue violence with full support of ISI

By Ghanizada – Mon Mar 28 2016

AndarabiThe acting Afghan intelligence chief Massoud Andarabi has said the Taliban group will pursue violence with the full support of Pakistani military intelligence, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

Briefing the Afghan lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament, Andarabi said the Taliban group will pursue violence in the summer as they are being supported by ISI and encouraged to increase violence and bring more areas under their control.

Andarabi further added that the enemies of the country were more hopeful last year considering the situation of the country as they eyed to capture more areas with persistent violence and increase their political legitimacy.

However, Andarabi said the offensive by the Taliban militants group was repulsed as they failed to have strategic gains.

This is not the first time top Afghan security officials are criticizing Pakistan for interfering in internal affairs of the country.

The Afghan officials have long been slamming Pakistan, specifically the country’s military intelligence for supporting the anti-government armed groups in Afghanistan.

The officials also criticize the Pakistani military intelligence for providing shelters to Afghan militant groups, specifically the Taliban group and the notorious Haqqani network who are blamed for deadly attacks in the country.

khaama.com/acting-nds-chief-says-taliban-to-pursue-violence-with-full-support-of-isi-0464

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Nearly 100 Taliban insurgents killed, wounded in Khanshin district of Helmand

Mon Mar 28 2016

Nearly 100 Taliban militants were killed or wounded during the operations in Khanshin district of southern Helmand province which was retaken by the Afghan forces yesterday.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said at least 60 Taliban insurgents were killed and 30 others were wounded during the operations conducted jointly by the Afghan forces.

The control of Khanshin district fell to Taliban militants nearly two weeks ago following a coordinated attack involving scores of militants.

However, the security officials announced Sunday that the Afghan forces managed to clear the district from the militants presence as a result of the operations.

Helmand is among the volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in its various districts and frequently carry out insurgency activities.

Meanwhile, a statement by MoD said at least 29 militants were killed in a separate operation in Shindand district of Herat while 17 others including 2 commanders of the group were killed in Ghazni and Nuristan provinces.

MoD further added that 7 soldiers serving with the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces also lost their lives during the same operations.

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

khaama.com/nearly-100-taliban-insurgents-killed-wounded-in-khanshin-district-of-helmand-0465

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Kabul explosion leaves 4 killed, 15 wounded

Tue Mar 29 2016

Afghan-police-respond-to-Kabul-attack-via-AFPFour people have lost lives and 15 others sustained injuries in a bomb blast in 11th police district of Kabul city.

Target of the blast was reportedly a former senator who was passing through the area in his vehicle.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the blast that took place in Khair Khana area this morning.

This story would be updated as more details come available.

khaama.com/kabul-explosion-leaves-three-wounded-4773

 

Nine militants killed, 3 arrested by security forces in Nangarhar

Tue Mar 29 2016

Taliban12Security forces have killed nine militants in a raid in Momand Dara district of eastern Nangarhrar province.

Nangarhar Media and Information Center said late on Monday that the raid was conducted in Bar Ghundi area by a special unit based out of Nangarhar Airfield in which two rocket launchers, a machine gun, six hand grenades, 20 rockets, 2,000 rounds of PK machine gun, 1,000 rounds of Kalashnikov and two walkie-talkies were also destroyed.

Nangarhar media office also said that security forces rounded up three fighters of Daesh group in a separate raid from the jurisdiction of Haska Mina district.

Haska Mina is one of the few districts of Nangarhar where Daesh has a stronger presence.

The coalition officials estimate between 1,000 to 3,000 Islamic State fighters are stationed in eastern Afghanistan and are trying to establish a base of operations in the rugged mountains of Nangarhar Province.

khaama.com/security-forces-kill-9-militants-in-nangarhar-arrest-3-others-4771

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President Ghani opens campaign for the cleaning of Kabul city

Mon Mar 28 2016

Ghani cleaning garbageA campaign to clean capital Kabul was launched today with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani participating in the opening of the campaign in a bid to encourage the citizens of the country to contribute and keep the cities clean.

The campaign was launched from Bibi Mehro area of Kabul city today which comes as the residents of Kabul city have long been criticizing the government for remaining reckless to resolve the issue.

In his speech during the inauguration of the cleaning program, President Ghani said Kabul city and Bagrami district will be cleaned in the initial phase of the campaign and the garbage will be shifted to Gazak area.

He said an international firm will be appointed in the second phase of the campaign for the filtration of the garbage so that they can be used to produce energy.

President Ghani further added that the third phase will include the creation of a work force so that they can persistently continue with the cleaning work of the city and steps for the third phase will be announced later.

He said the participation of private sector in cleaning of the garbage has been considered in the fourth phase of the campaign while the fifth phase includes participation of Kabul residents in cleaning campaign.

This comes as President Ghani insisted on the appointment of a qualified mayor to turn Kabul city into one of the best cities of the world after he assumed office as the newly-elected Afghan president.

However, the Kabul residents have slammed the government for failing to appoint a mayor for the municipality of the capital which has been administered by acting mayor during the past two years.

khaama.com/president-ghani-opens-campaign-for-the-cleaning-of-kabul-city-0467

 

Taliban fire rockets at parliament in Kabul

March 29th, 2016

KABUL: Taliban insurgents fired a barrage of rockets at Afghanistan’s newly built parliament complex in Kabul on Monday, as top security officials including the intelligence chief prepared to address the assembly.

Multiple rockets smashed into the sprawling compound, blowing out windows in one building. But no one was reported hurt and the parliament session continued uninterrupted.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying the rockets inflicted heavy casualties. The militant group is known to exaggerate battlefield claims.

“While we discuss insecurity around the country, it is worrying that the enemy is able to strike the parliament in the heart of the capital,” lawmaker Mohammad Abdou said during the session broadcast live on TV.

Taj Mohammad Jahed, the caretaker minister of interior who was due to address parliament along with the intelligence chief on the worsening security in Afghanistan, was apologetic.

“This should not have happened,” Jahed said. “I will order new security measures for the parliament complex.” The swanky complex, built by India at an estimated cost of $90 million, was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December. Last June Taliban militants attacked the old parliament building, sending lawmakers running for cover in chaotic scenes relayed live on television.

dawn.com/news/1248463/taliban-fire-rockets-at-parliament-in-kabul

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Logar governor vows action against killers of Col. Mohammada Jan

Mon Mar 28 2016

Logar 2Mohammad Halim Fidayee, governor of central Logar province has strongly condemned the killing of Colonel Mohammada Jan.

Fidayee says strict actions would be taken against the perpetrators.

Colonel Mohammada Jan who was garrison commander of the fourth brigade- The 203 Thunder Military Corps- lost his life in a bomb blast on Sunday.

The bomb was attached to the door of his residence in Zarghun Khar area of Mohammad Agha district.

There was no additional casualty in the blast.

No group has group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Security forces to include army, police and personnel of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) have been conducting a search operation in Zarghun Khar area since yesterday.

khaama.com/bomb-blast-claims-co-mohammada-jans-life-in-logar-4769

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NDS seized two weapons caches in Logar, arrested two suspects

Mon Mar 28 2016

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has seized two weapons catches of insurgents in central Logar province.

Officials say one of the depots was discovered in Pakhtoonabad area of Pul-i-Alam, the provincial capital, while the other one was intercepted in the jurisdiction of Khwakhi district last night.

Two rocket launchers, 12 bombs, two rounds of artillery, two boxes of ammos for PK machine gun and other materials were found in the depots.

Two individuals have been arrested on suspicion.

Located some 60 km south of Kabul, Logar is comparatively a restive province of Afghanistan where Taliban, insurgents loyal to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami and Daesh are operating.

However, it is yet unknown what group the weapons depot belonged to.

khaama.com/nds-seize-two-weapons-caches-in-logar-arrests-two-suspects-4769

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Pakistan

Hundreds of Islamic extremists protest in Pakistan’s capital

Tue, March 29 2016

Hundreds of Islamic extremists who earlier violently protested in Islamabad over the hanging of a man who killed a secular governor continued their demonstrations in Pakistan’s capital on Tuesday, despite warnings from the government targeting extremists. The rally by Pakistan’s Sunni Tehreek group saw more than 10,000 protesters enter Islamabad on Sunday, damaging buildings and bus stations. On Tuesday, local police official Mohammad Kashif said some 700 remained, bringing the most sensitive parts of the capital to a standstill.

The protesters are demanding Pakistan strictly enforce Shariah, or Islamic, law, after the hanging of police officer Mumtaz Qadri, who killed Gov. Salman Taseer in 2011. The group also demands a Christian woman named Aasia Bibi, who is accused of blasphemy and who Taseer supported, be hanged.

Tuesday’s sit-in continued despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s overnight warning that his government will fight extremists. His comments followed the massive suicide bombing that targeted Christians gathered for Easter in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, an attack that killed 72 people.

Hours after Sunday’s attacks, a breakaway Taliban faction, which publicly supports the Islamic State group, claimed responsibility, without offering further details. The attack shocked the nation and the army responded by launching raids on suspected militant hideouts in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital.

More than 300 suspects have been detained in the raids in the past 48 hours, a security official said. Another official also confirmed nearly 300 arrests and said most of those detained were suspected to belong to outlawed militant and extremist groups.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to publicly speak to journalists.

The military also had intensified its operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan in June 2014 following December 2014 attack on a school in the city of Peshawar that killed 150 people, mainly children.

thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/29/hundreds-islamic-extremists-protest-pakistans-capital.html

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Around 700 pro-Qadri protesters remain in Islamabad’s Red Zone

AP — 29 March 2016

ISLAMABAD: Around 700 pro-Mumtaz Qadri protesters continued to protest in Islamabad’s Red Zone on Tuesday, police official Mohammad Kashif confirmed, despite warnings from the government, bringing the most sensitive parts of the capital to a standstill.

A rally organised by the Sunni Tehreek (ST) saw more than 10,000 charged protesters enter the city on Sunday, damaging buildings and setting fire to the metro station, containers and buses.

A crowd consisting of around at least 25,000 people had attended the chehlum of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer’s killer, Mumtaz Qadri, in Rawalpindi’s Liaquatbagh earlier that day.

Mumtaz Qadri, an Elite Force commando, was executed at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on February 29. Qadri shot Taseer 28 times in broad daylight in Islamabad’s Kohsar Market on January 4, 2011.

Qadri said he killed Taseer over what he called the politician’s vocal opposition to blasphemy laws of the country. He was sentenced to death for assassinating Taseer on Oct 1 the same year.

The protesters, while staging a sit-in in front of Parliament, issued a list of 10 demands under the banner of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool (SAW).

Their demands include the unconditional release of all Sunni clerics and leaders booked on various charges, including terrorism and murder; the recognition of Mumtaz Qadri as a martyr and the conversion of his Adiala Jail cell into a national heritage site; assurances that blasphemy laws will not be amended; and the removal of Ahmadis and other non-Muslims who occupy key posts.

They also demanded the execution of blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi, the woman former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was killed for defending.

Over 700 protesters were picked up from parts of Islamabad and sent to various jails in Punjab, Dawn Newspaper learnt from officials of the capital police on Monday, and four separate cases were registered against 501 religious workers, including their leadership, under the Anti-Terrorism Act by police.

Tuesday’s sit-in continues despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Monday night address to the nation during which he warned radical Islamists not to take the government’s leniency as a sign of weakness.

Know more: Military gives go-ahead for Punjab operation after Lahore carnage

The address followed a massive suicide bombing at Lahore’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal park in which at least 72 people were killed.

Hours after Sunday’s attack, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Jamatul Ahrar claimed responsibility.

The army responded by launching raids on suspected militant hideouts across Punjab.

More than 200 suspects have been detained in the raids in the past 48 hours, a security official said.

Another official also confirmed the arrests and said most of those detained were suspected to belong to outlawed militant and extremist groups.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to publicly speak to journalists.

dawn.com/news/1248676/around-700-pro-qadri-protesters-remain-in-islamabads-red-zone

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Punjab crackdown is a national operation, says law minister

DAWN.COM —  29 March 2016

LAHORE: A day after the military confirmed launching a crackdown against terrorists in Punjab, provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday said the operation launched in the province is a “national operation.”

The minister said the country’s complete political leadership, religious parties, opposition and the government are backing the crackdown.

Giving some details on the modalities of the operation, Sanaullah said action will be taken jointly by all law enforcing agencies.

“Some kacha areas have been identified where operations will be launched by police, elite force and the counter-terrorism department, and if need be Rangers and Army will be called in.”

The law minister’s conference comes an hour before ISPR chief Asim Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid are scheduled to address a joint conference in Islamabad. The two are expected to talk on security issues.

Trying to play down speculation on differences between the government and the military, the minister said:

“Some elements that are trying to create gaps or spaces in our joint efforts will fail. This operation will continue with the same passion and soon the entire nation will stand victorious.”

Sana emphasised that all law enforcement agencies, be it police, CTD, ISI or Rangers, are operating together to achieve their targets.

In the past 24 hours, police has conducted 56 operations in the province, CTD has undertaken 16 operations, while intelligence agencies with the help of local police conducted 88 operations, he said.

He said over 15,000 seminaries had been geotagged and dispelled the notion that no-go areas exist in Punjab. “The impression that no-go areas exist in Punjab is wrong,” he said.

In the past 24 hours, he said, police had conducted 56 operations, the CTD 16 operations, and local police with the support of intelligence agencies had conducted 88.

A total of 5,221 people had been rounded up during the operations, of which 5,005 were released after data verification, the minister said

There are around 1,550 people on the fourth schedule, and nearly 1,000 were arrested, he said.

dawn.com/news/1248677/punjab-crackdown-is-a-national-operation-says-law-minister

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India

Evil ISIS Jihadis ‘Crucify’ Kidnapped Indian Catholic Priest on Good Friday

Mar 29, 2016

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, 56, was kidnapped by Islamist gunmen reportedly linked to Islamic State (ISIS) earlier this month after attacking an old people’s home, killing at least 15 people.

The terrorists crucified Father Thomas on Good Friday after threatening to carry out the barbaric act earlier in the week, according to the Archbishop of Vienna.

It is not known how the Archbishop became aware of Father Thomas’ alleged fate, but his confirmation of the crucifixion during Easter Vigil Mass was reported in Austrian media.

A spokesperson for the cardinal today admitted that while he did say that the priest has been crucified, he has no confirmation of Father Thomas’ fate.

Arhdiocese Vienna’s head of media relations, Michael Prüller, said: “The cardinal based his statements on news published on Arabic language web sites.

“The validity of this information has, however, not been confirmed.

A Facebook post hoping for Father Tom’s release

Father Tom Uzhunnalil – an Indian national from Kerala was abducted by a terror group

Sushma Swaraj

“The cardinal doesn’t himself have any sources that have confirmed the death of Father Tom.

“Thus, for the time being, there’s still basis for hope that Father Tom is alive.”

Several religious groups reportedly received threats that Father Thomas would be crucified on Good Friday, but this was denied by his church in his hometown Bangalore, India.

The Indian government said it was “making all efforts” to secure the release of the Catholic priest.

The external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday confirmed the government was desperately trying to rescue the priest.

Mrs Swaraj said: “Father Tom Uzhunnalil – an Indian national from Kerala was abducted by a terror group in Yemen. We are making all efforts to secure his release.”

Authorities in Yemen blamed ISIS for the attack on a refuge for the elderly operated by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity which led to Father Tom’s abduction.

Father Tom had been brutally tortured by the sick jihadis since his abduction.

Four gunmen posing as relatives of one of the guests at the home burst inside, killing four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard.

The gutless group targeted defenceless residents at a Christian care home

Witnesses described the screams of patients echoing through the corridors, with one nun surviving the carnage after hiding in a storeroom fridge when a guard told her to run.

The senseless killings prompted an angry response from Pope Francis, who called for an end to the ten-month conflict in Yemen, which has allowed terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda to flourish.

More than 6,200 people have been killed in the conflict, half of them civilians.

A Christian group based in South Africa had reported that the priest now faced death by crucifixion over Easter – one of Christianity’s holiest celebrations.

The Franciscan Sisters of Siessen posted on Facebook: “Was informed that the Salesian priest, Fr.Tom who was kidnapped by ISIS from the Missionaries of Charity Home in Yemen is being tortured and is going to be crucified on Good Friday.

“This calls for serious concerted prayers from all of us.”

express.co.uk/news/world/656193/Tom-Uzhunnalil-crucified-ISIS-Good-Friday-Catholic-priest-Easter-Islamic-State

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Pathankot attack probe: Pak sent Delhi a letter saying evidence will help build case

March 29, 2016

The government agreed to allow Pakistani investigators to visit Pathankot after receiving a written commitment that the evidence gathered would be used to pursue a criminal case against the perpetrators, diplomatic sources have told The Indian Express.

In a March 1 letter, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the evidence was necessary to enable “the building of a strong prosecution case”.

Pak probe team heads to Pathankot today, political storm erupts in DelhiPathankot attack probe: Pakistan’s JIT to hold meetings with NIA officers todayProbing Pathankot attack: Pakistan team to reach Delhi todayPathankot attack: Pakistan team to visit this weekend, but no legal basis of its probePathankot probe: Six terrorists or four? NIA will send charred remains for re-testPathankot attack: Pakistan police lodge FIR against unknown personsPak probe team heads to Pathankot today, political storm erupts in DelhiPathankot attack probe: Pakistan’s JIT to hold meetings with NIA officers todayProbing Pathankot attack: Pakistan team to reach Delhi todayPathankot attack: Pakistan team to visit this weekend, but no legal basis of its probePathankot probe: Six terrorists or four? NIA will send charred remains for re-testPathankot attack: Pakistan police lodge FIR against unknown personsPak probe team heads to Pathankot today, political storm erupts in DelhiPathankot attack probe: Pakistan’s JIT to hold meetings with NIA officers todayProbing Pathankot attack: Pakistan team to reach Delhi todayPathankot attack: Pakistan team to visit this weekend, but no legal basis of its probePathankot probe: Six terrorists or four? NIA will send charred remains for re-testPathankot attack: Pakistan police lodge FIR against unknown persons

Following a meeting with National Investigation Agency (NIA) officers in New Delhi, Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team is scheduled to travel to Pathankot airbase Tuesday.

In the letter, sources said, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry promised that the team would process the material it obtained professionally to “ensure admissibility of the evidence in a relevant court of law”.

The letter also suggested that Pakistani investigators had identified families of the four perpetrators who the NIA believes were Jaish-e-Muhammad operatives. Forensic samples, it stated, should be given to the JIT “for their possible match with specimens of relevant individuals in Pakistan”.

India has been trying to return the bodies of the four perpetrators to Pakistan. The process, government sources said, would not be possible until DNA samples established that the perpetrators were in fact Pakistani citizens.

“The last government,” a senior diplomat said, “made a mistake after 26/11 by not allowing Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency to gather crime-scene evidence, or to summon Indian witnesses to the trial. The only result was to give the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s lawyers a handle to sabotage the case.”

“Even though we are unclear how far this process will go,” the diplomat said, “we don’t want to give Pakistan an opportunity to blame India for failing to cooperate in the investigation.”

New Delhi, government sources said, is willing to make available witnesses to depose in any future criminal trial in Pakistan, either through video-link or in person. “There’s nothing for us to hide,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pathankot-attack-pakistan-sent-delhi-a-letter-saying-evidence-will-help-build-case/

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Student Spread IS Ideology among Youths in Bengal: NIA

Soumen Datta, Hindustan Times, Kolkata: Mar 29, 2016

After interrogating Durgapur polytechnic student Ashique Ahmed, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has learnt that he had managed to indoctrinate several youths from Bengal in the Islamic State’s (IS’s) ideology in the last six months. The agency also learnt that Ahmed got in touch with these youths through social networking sites.

The youths that Ahmed indoctrinated come from areas such as Murshidabad, Malda, Hooghly and North 24-Parganas.

“Ashique Ahmed was given the task of swaying these youths and getting them to adopt IS’s ideals and beliefs. Soon, he began contacting them through social networking sites,” said NIA IG SK Singh. While tracing the IS network in the country, the agency identified 14 people who were engaged in spreading IS ideology. They were arrested and one of them, Nasif Khan, from Hyderabad told the sleuths about Ahmed whom he had recruited for spreading IS’s ideology.

The agency picked Ahmed up from Kanksa near Durgapur on February 25 and brought him to Kolkata for interrogation. Later, he was taken to Delhi where he was arrested on March 17.

While grilling Nasif Khan and Ahmed, the NIA learnt that Ashique was asked to make a list of people who could turnout to be hardcore IS activists.

After examining Ahmed’s profile page on a social networking site, the sleuths also found that he used to share IS videos, including the brutal execution videos uploaded on different sites.

But the NIA sleuths are now sure that Ahmed was over enthusiastic in spreading the IS ideology and that was why he often pressurised others through chat to adopt it. In fact, he wanted to indoctrinate as many youths in Bengal as possible.

The agency is now trying to locate the persons Ahmed and Khan contacted in the last six months. The officials added that the exact number of persons recruited by IS in India or those assigned the task of spreading their ideology could not ascertained.

The NIA had earlier said that the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh (JMB) had recruited and trained their activists in Bengal before Khagragarh blast. Then, too, jihad had become the main attraction for the young recruits.

hindustantimes.com/india/student-spread-is-ideology-among-youths-in-bengal-nia/story-b2MURoZPJ1RGq3QFHetsQL.html

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Modi to visit Saudi Arabia on invitation of King Salman

DAWN.COM

Tue, Mar 29, 2016

Indian PM says he will visit the Kingdom next month to 'expand and deepen bilateral relations' with Saudi Arabia.─AFP/File

Indian PM says he will visit the Kingdom next month to ‘expand and deepen bilateral relations’ with Saudi Arabia.─AFP/File

MUMBAI: Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced Monday that he will be visiting Saudi Arabia between April 2 and April 3 on the invitation of King Salman.

The Indian premier announced the decision on his official Facebook page, adding that he plans to work with the Saudi leadership to ‘expand and deepen our bilateral relations’.

Modi maintained that one of the key objectives of his visit will be to convince prominent Saudi businesses to partner with India’s development priorities.

“Our economic ties are expanding. Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner, and is also India’s largest crude oil supplier,” read the statement.

It must be noted that on the death of Salman’s predecessor, King Abdullah last year, India sent its Vice President Hamid Ansari to Riyadh to pay respects.

In addition, the Indian government had announced a day of mourning on January 24, 2015 for the “close ally and friend” of the country.

In 2006, when King Abdullah visited India as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, the trip was hailed as a milestone. The first visit by a Saudi king to India in 51 years, it saw the signing of the “Delhi Declaration” forging a strategic energy partnership between the two nations.

dawn.com/news/1248666/modi-to-visit-saudi-arabia-on-invitation-of-king-salman

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian Petition: Strip ‘Anti-Muslim’ Suu Kyi of Nobel Prizei

Jakarta.

29th Mar 2016

Tens of thousands of Indonesians have called for the revocation of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi over anti-Muslim remarks she allegedly made during a media interview.

A newly published biography written by Peter Popham, titled “The Lady and The Generals,” revealed that Suu Kyi lost her temper after a heated interview in October 2013 with BBC Today anchor Mishal Husain.

Husain, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, repeatedly questioned why the Nobel laureate refused to condemn anti-Islamic sentiment and massacres of Muslims in her country, which she refused to do throughout the interview.

newly published book “The Lady and The Generals — Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Freedom” – See more at: mizzima.com/news-domestic/biographer-claims-suu-kyi-%E2%80%98angry-being-interviewed-muslim%E2%80%99#sthash.nwgNp4d5.dpuf newly published book “The Lady and The Generals — Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Freedom” – See more at: mizzima.com/news-domestic/biographer-claims-suu-kyi-%E2%80%98angry-being-interviewed-muslim%E2%80%99#sthash.nwgNp4d5.dpuf newly published book “The Lady and The Generals — Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Freedom” – See more at: mizzima.com/news-domestic/biographer-claims-suu-kyi-%E2%80%98angry-being-interviewed-muslim%E2%80%99#sthash.nwgNp4d5.dpufnewly published book “The Lady and The Generals — Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Freedom” – See more at: mizzima.com/news-domestic/biographer-claims-suu-kyi-%E2%80%98angry-being-interviewed-muslim%E2%80%99#sthash.nwgNp4d5.dpuf After the interview, Popham writes, Suu Kyi reportedly said: “No one told me I would be interviewed by a Muslim.”

“Many people were shocked that such words came from Suu Kyi. It might be just one sentence, but they have deep meanings for every person who loves peace,” said Emerson Yuntho, an antigraft activist who co-initiated an online petition demanding the Norwegian Nobel Committee retract the award.

“Only those who seriously maintain peace are suitable for the Nobel Peace Prize,” the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) activist added.

Emerson, along with around 120 other Indonesians, started the petition on the website Change.org on Monday, and it had been been signed by over 35,000 people as of Tuesday.

Husain had been asking Suu Kyi about the fate of the Rohingya, Muslim minority group in Myanmar that has suffered persecution in recent years at the hands of the Buddhist-majority population, with Myanmar authorities being accused of turning a blind eye.

Suu Kyi has remained largely silent about the Rohingya issue.

“This has again raised questions by the international community regarding Suu Kyi’s attitude towards Muslim minority groups in Myanmar,” Emerson said.

jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/indonesian-petition-strip-anti-muslim-suu-kyi-nobel-prize/

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Thailand: 2 soldiers killed in majority Muslim south

28th Mar 2016

Max Constant

BANGKOK (AA) – Two Thai soldiers were gunned down Sunday in the country’s insurgency-plagued majority Muslim south, despite the ruling junta’s claims that conditions in the region are under control and improving.

The chief of the Yarang district police station, in Pattani province, told Anadolu Agency, “two soldiers were shot by a group using AK-47 automatic rifles and were killed as they were riding a motorbike on the way to the market of Yarang district”.

Police Colonel Tirapot Yindi added, “both soldiers were killed on the spot and the assailants fled”.

Police investigators blamed insurgents fighting against the central state for the attack, one in a long series of shootings and bombings to rock the region this year despite the military government’s repeated assurances of the situation improving.

Negotiations between Mara Patani, an umbrella group representing various factions of the decades-long insurgency, and the military government — which seized power in a May 2014 coup — have been on-going since 2015 with Malaysia acting as a facilitator.

Last year, Mara Patani set out three pre-conditions for formal peace talks with the Thai military government.

First, the organization demanded that the southern issue be made a priority on the government national agenda through a parliamentary vote. Secondly, it asked the government to recognize Mara Patani as “a legitimate organization” and thirdly that Mara Patani representatives be given immunity and safe passage throughout the south.

Last month, Gen. Nakrob Boonbuathong — a representative of the Internal Security Operational Command, the main domestic security agency — said that junta chief-cum-Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had approved the first request, but not the two others.

Despite a decrease in the number of violent incidents in 2015 compared to previous years, bombings and shootings continue to destabilize the three provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat — as well as four districts of the Songkla province to the north — where around 6,500 people have been killed and over 11,000 injured since 2004.

The southern insurgency is rooted in a century-old ethno-cultural conflict between Malay Muslims living in the southern region and the Thai central state where Buddhism is considered the de-facto national religion.

Armed insurgent groups were formed in the 1960s after the then-military dictatorship tried to interfere in Islamic schools, but the insurgency faded in the 1990s.

In 2004, a rejuvenated armed movement — composed of numerous local cells of fighters loosely grouped around an organization called the National Revolutionary Front or BRN, some factions of which are now involved in Mara Pattani — emerged.

The confrontation is one of the deadliest low-intensity conflicts on the planet.

muslimnews.co.uk/news/south-east-asia/thailand-2-soldiers-killed-majority-muslim-south/

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Arab World

Saudi Nationals behind Global Terror Attacks: Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council

Tue, Mar 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council (EC) Mohsen Rezayee said on Monday that the footprint of a Saudi national is always visible when a terrorist attack happens anywhere in the world.

Rezayee made the remark in reaction to the recent comments by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in an article published by New York Times claiming that Iran supports terrorism.

Adel al-Jubeir also repeated his anti-Iran comments in his Twitter account.

Rezaei referred to the new wave of terrorist attacks across Europe and the Middle East, saying that unlike the Saudis, Iranians are never involved in such terrorist or suicide attacks.

Rezayee had also earlier warned that Saudi Arabia’s decision to send ground troops to Syria will engulf the entire region, except for Iran.

“Saudi Arabia and the US have decided to dispatch troops to Syria to save the remnants of their Takfiri proxies. They want to continue the war on Syria after the failures of  ISIL and al-Nusra Front in Iraq (Ramadi) and Syria (Aleppo),” Rezayee wrote on his Instagram page last Saturday.

He predicted that such measures could increase the possibilty of clashes between Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Syria, as well as direct US invovlement, all while triggering a major regional war.

“Undoubtedly, if the Saudi government decides to make such a crazy move, the entire region, including Saudi Arabia will go up in flames, while Iran will still remain intact and unscathed.” Rezayee said.

The Saudi Defense Ministry says it is ready to deploy ground troops to Syria to allegedly aid the US-led anti-ISIL, also known as Daesh, coalition.

Riyadh has been a nominal member of the US-led coalition that has been launching airstrikes against Daesh in Syria since September 2014, without the permission of Damascus or the United Nations. In December 2015, Saudi Arabia started its own Muslim 34-nation coalition to allegedly fight Islamic extremism.

Daesh or ISIL/ISIS is a Wahhabi group mentored by Saudi Arabia and has been blacklisted as a terrorist group everywhere in the world, including the United States and Russia, but Saudi Arabia.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000066

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Al-Nusra Front Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Northwestern Hama

Tue, Mar 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army pounded and destroyed the military positions of Al-Nusra Front terrorists in the Northwestern part of Hama province on Tuesday.

The Al-Nusra Front’s military positions in al-Mansoura village in Northwestern Hama were razed down by the army units, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists.

The Syrian army also destroyed the terrorists’ mortar launching-pads in al-Ghab valley in the Western neighborhood of al-Mansoura village.

Scores of terrorists were killed and injured in tough battle with the Syrian army in the surrounding areas of al-Mansoura village.

In a relevant development on Sunday, the Syrian army and popular forces continued their advances in Hama, and won back two more key regions in the ISIL-controlled territory in the Eastern part of the Central province.

The army units and popular forces took full control of two new regions in the Western part of Aqareb dam and Tabaret al-Deibeh in heavy clashes with the ISIL terrorists.

Scores of ISIL terrorists were killed and wounded in heavy clashes with the Syrian government troops. Three military vehicles of the ISIL equipped with heavy machineguns were also razed down by the Syrian army.

Aqareb region is located about 30 kilometers to the East of Hama city.

The army’s engineering units defused the bombs and mines which were laid by the terrorists in the two regions.

Also on March 21, the Syrian army forces’ missile attack on terrorists’ positions in Hama province killed tens of militants and destroyed their weapons and vehicles.

According to military sources, the missile attack was launched against a vehicle carrying terrorists on the strategic al-Mansoura-Tal Wasat road in al-Ghab Plain, 25 km Northwest of Hama.

The missile strike killed all militants on board in addition to the full destruction of their vehicle.

Terrorists of the al-Nusra Front on March 20 admitted that one of their top military commanders has been killed during the Syrian army operations in the Southernmost parts of Hama province.

The terrorist group acknowledged on its social media that their top commander Abu Mustafa al-Hamawi was killed during the recent clashes that erupted between the Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front near Tal-Dara village South of Hama province, close to Homs province.

Syrian army unit carried out an operation against al-Nusra terrorists’ gathering in al-Mansoura village in the Northwestern countryside of Hama province

A field source announced that a mortar launcher was destroyed in the Western neighborhood of al-Mansoura village in al-Ghab Valley and a number of Takfiri terrorists were killed or injured in the operation.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000072

 

Homs: Syrian Army Captures Key Height

Tue Mar 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and popular forces continued their advances Homs province, and seized back a strategic height near the town of Quaryatayn.

The army units took full control of Hazm al-Gharbiat height by moving from Jabil mountain towards Hazm al-Awsat mountains in the Western part of Quaryatayn town.

The Syrian army inflicted heavy losses on the ISIL Takfiri terrorists and destroyed their armored vehicle killing all its crew members.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement started fresh military operations against the terrorists’ military positions Quaryatayn town in Homs province, and seized control of a strategic hill in the region in the first phase of the operation.

The army units attacked the terrorists’ positions in Quaryatayn.

The Syrian army and resistance forces seized back Mantar al-Ramliya Hill in Taloul al-Soud area in the Western part of Quaryatayn town early in the first phase of their massive operations.

The Syrian army started its fresh operations after it cut the terrorists’ supply routes to the ancient city of Palmyra which is also located in Eastern Homs.

Meantime, the Syrian army’s artillery units heavily pounded the terrorists’ positions in Quaryatayn.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000114

 

Deir Ezzur: Syrian Army Inflicts Heavy Losses on ISIL Terrorists

Tue Mar 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and popular forces continued their advances in two strategic regions in Deir Ezzur province in Eastern Syria, killing and wounding scores of the ISIL terrorists.

The army units attacked the ISIL’s military positions in the towns of al-Mayadeen and al-Ashara in Deir Ezzur province.

The Syrian government troops killed at least four ISIL terrorists in Tebbiya region in al-Mayadeen town in the Southeastern part of Deir Ezzur.

The army units also hit hard the ISIL in al-Ashara town also located in the Southeastern part of Deir Ezzur. At least five ISIL terrorists, including three Saudi nationals, were killed in heavy clashes with the Syrian army.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian army foiled an attempt by the ISIL terrorist group to penetrate into its military positions in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur military airport, killing scores of Takfiri terrorists.

The ISIL terrorists tried to penetrate into al-Mura’yeh and Huweija fronts near Deir Ezzur military airport, but they were pushed back by the Syrian army.

“At least five terrorists were killed and many more were injured in heavy clashes with the government troops,” army sources said.

Also on Saturday, the Syrian army hit hard and destroyed the ISIL’s military positions in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur as the country’s air force continued pounding the Takfiri terrorist group’s gathering centers in strategic farms and villages across the province.

The Syrian air force pounded the ISIL’s military positions in al-Mura’yeh farms and Jafreh village.

Meantime, the Syrian army destroyed the ISIL’s positions in Mura’yeh and al-Huweija fronts in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur province.

Scores of terrorists were killed and wounded in tough battle with the Syrian army and also in Syrian fighter jets’ strikes.

Also on Thursday, the Syrian Air Force launched several airstrikes on ISIL positions in the city of Deir Ezzur’s Eastern Suburbs.

“The Syrian Air Force also destroyed as many as a dozen pick-up trucks and armored vehicles of ISIL in the al-Uthmaniyah district,” a military source said.

In addition to the destruction of the terrorist group’s vehicles, the Syrian air force jets destroyed an ISIL warehouse during the aerial operation over the region, the source added.

Also last Wednesday, a source reported that the ISIL’s top field commander in Deir Ezzur province was killed by the Syrian Army when his unit launched a large-scale offensive to seize the provincial capital.

According to a source from the Syrian Army’s Airborne Brigade of the Republican Guard, the ISIL commander was identified as “Salahiddeen Al-Beljiki”, a veteran terrorist from Belgium.

One day after Al-Beljiki’s death, the Syrian Armed Forces also reported the death of another ISILL field command “Sayaf Al-Baqawi”, nom de guerre “Sayaf Al-Mughrabi.

Al-Baqawi’s was a Moroccan national that led ISIL’s “Al-Bitar Battalions” in the battle for Deir Ezzur province and his death was reported to the Moroccan authorities after his identification.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000296

 

Rouhani: Iran Backs Permanent Ceasefire in Syria

Tue, Mar 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday called for the continuation of the ceasefire in Syria and acceleration of political negotiations to end the foreign-backed proxy war on the the Arab country.

“Concurrent with the ceasefire, political negotiations should speed up. The truce and political negotiations should not disrupt the relentless campaign against terrorists and terrorist groups in Syria,” Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

He also said cooperation and consultation among Iran and Russia would play a leading role in consolidating peace and stability in Syria.

“Only the Syrian people can decide about Syria and the future of their country’s political system,” Rouhani added.

He hailed the Syrian government forces’ recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra from the ISIL terrorist group, saying it indicates that the Syrian Army and people have become stronger.

Following four weeks of military operations against Daesh, Syrian forces, backed by popular defense groups, Iranian military advisers and Russian air cover, wrested back control of Palmyra in the western province of Homs on Sunday.

The Iranian president said protecting borders and blocking the flow of arms and terrorist recruits into Syria as well as preventing terrorists from participating in Syria peace talks under the aegis of the opposition are “irrefutable necessities.”

Putin, for his part, briefed Rouhani on the latest talks between Russia and the US on Syria and said all efforts are aimed at settling the crisis in the Arab country through peaceful approaches while Tehran and Moscow have full coordination in this regard.

He added that terrorists should not be allowed to join the opposition during political talks on Syria.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000055

 

IRGC Commander: Despite Nuclear Deal No Lifting of Sanctions

Tue, Mar 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said despite the nuclear deal, the enemy (the US government) has no intention to lift its sanctions regime against Iran.

Speaking to reporters in the northern city of Gilan on Monday, Jafari said the enemy is lifting just a fraction of its sanctions against Iran, and even that part is being done through a very slow and gradual process.

“The enemy has no intention to lift its sanctions regime altogether – despite the nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 (US, Britain, France, China, Russia plus Germany),” he said

His remarks came after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei lashed out at the US for not remaining loyal to its undertakings based on the July nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers.

“The Americans did not act on what they promised in the nuclear accord (the JCPOA); they did not do what they should have done. According to Foreign Minister (Mohammad Javad Zarif), they brought something on the paper but prevented materialization of the objectives of the Islamic Republic of Iran through many diversionary ways,” Ayatollah Khamenei said on March 20.

“What a hue and cry did they launch in the case of the missiles: Why Iran has long-ranged missiles? Why they (Iranians) aim and point to the target so precisely? Why they (Iranians) tested and why you (we Iranians) do military exercise?” he asked.

“The Americans and one of the regional countries launch wargames every now and then in the Persian Gulf, which is several thousands of kilometers away of their country, while they have no responsibility there. Iran carries out military exercise in its own security boundary and home,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.

Elsewhere, the Supreme Leader said that he supported the Iranian nuclear negotiating team and encouraged the people to cooperate with the government to achieve the goals set for the economic development.

 

VP: Government Implementing Resistance Economy in Practice

Tue, Mar 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri said President Hassan Rouhani has begun putting into practice the government’s policy of resistance economy.

“Promotion of non-oil exports tops the government’s agenda for this year,” Jahangiri said on Monday.

He noted that the economy ministry is responsible for implementing the objectives of the new policy.

The announcement came after Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on March 20 called on people and officials to double efforts to improve economy and turn the threats into opportunities.

“The main issue is that the Iranian nation should be able to do something to bring its vulnerabilities to zero point, and we should have the art of using opportunities and turning threats into opportunities,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in his message on Sunday after the start of the Iranian New Year.

He underlined that improvement of economy is the country’s main priority, and said increasing national production, creating jobs and fighting recession are among the issues which should receive attention in the New Year.

Ayatollah Khamenei described the resistance economy as the remedy to all economic problems and the way to stand against enemies’ threats and create opportunities, and said, “Therefore, what I choose as the slogan of this year is ‘the resistance economy; action and implementation’.”

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000079

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ISIL Governor Killed in Nineveh Province

Tue, Mar 29, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi army and volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) killed a notorious ISIL leader in Nineveh province on Tuesday.

The ISIL governor identified as Mohammad Ahmad Sha’yeb was killed by the Iraqi government troops near the city of Mosul in the Northern part of Nineveh province.

Ahmad Sha’yeb was the third ISIL commander who was killed by the Iraqi army over last 48 hours, Iraqi defense ministry announced on Tuesday.

In a relevant development on Sunday, the Iraqi army and volunteer forces continued their advances near Mosul city, and seized back several strategic villages.

“We have liberated at least 10 ISIL-controlled villages, including Qudila, Qarmadi, Mahanah, Khattab, al-Nasr, Hamidat and Kharbardan since Thursday during military operations to take control of Mosul city which is located 400 kilometers to the North of Baghdad,” Brigadier General Najm Abdollah al-Jubouri said.

Scores of the ISIL terrorists were killed and wounded in heavy clashes with the Iraqi government troops over taking control of the villages near Mosul city.

Brigadier General al-Jubouri reiterated that the ISIL tried to penetrate in the newly-liberated villages by dispatching suicide bombers, but to no avail.

Also on Saturday, the Iraqi government troops are engaged in heavy fighting with the ISIL terrorists at the entrance of Mahana village in Makhmour region of Nineveh province.

Meantime, the Iraqi air force pounded and destroyed the ISIL’s military positions in al-Bashir region in the Southern part of Kirkuk.

The Iraqi fighter jets carried out targeted attacks on the ISIL’s gathering centers in Al-Ban region in Nineveh province.

The Iraqi Army and popular forces have begun military operations to retake the Northern province of Nineveh from ISIL since Thursday.

On Thursday, the Iraqi army seized back four other villages in Makhmour region of Nineveh province.

Also on Friday, the Iraqi army and volunteer forces made considerable advances against the ISIL Takfiri terrorists in Nineveh province.

The Iraqi army along with popular forces have pushed the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group back in their offensive on Mosul and much of the occupied Nineveh province, an informed source said.

“The Takfiri terrorists are suffering heavy losses in Nineveh province, and are forced to retreat after crushing defeats in battles against the Iraqi army and popular forces. Militants are also suffering huge losses in the battle against the Iraqi armed forces that are approaching ISIL’s main stronghold city of Mosul,” the source added.

“The army of Iraq and the militias composed of Nineveh province residents have already liberated the villages of Munantar and Tel-Shair, al-Salahia and al-Hitab,” press secretary of the National Mobilization Forces Mahmoud al-Surji announced.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950110000394

 

All Egypt Air Passengers except Crew and Four Foreigners Released

March 29, 2016

Egyptair says negotiated release of all aboard hijacked plane except four foreigners and the crew.

AhlulBayt News Agency – The EgyptAir plane hijacker has been reportedly identified as Ibrahim Samaha, according to Egyptian media.

The hijacker of an EgyptAir plane is an Egyptian national called Ibrahim Samaha, the state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.

An EgyptAir passenger plane was hijacked by a man who was said to be wearing a suicide bomb vest Tuesday morning. The jet has landed at the airport in Larnaka, Cyprus, according to the country’s state broadcaster.

Egyptair says negotiated release of all aboard hijacked plane except four foreigners and the crew.

Passengers on the EgyptAir plane that was diverted to Cyprus included eight Britons and 10 Americans, three security sources at Alexandria airport said.

Negotiations with the kidnapped result in the release of all the passengers, except the crew and four foreigners.

— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) 29 March 2016

“Negotiations with the hijacker have led to the release of all passengers on board except for 7 crew members and four foreigners,” an Egyptian Civil Aviation source said.

Negotiations with the kidnapped result in the release of all the passengers, except the crew and four foreigners.

— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) 29 March 2016

According to the reports, the passengers were leaving the plane with carry-on baggage. Later they got on a bus which took them to the aiport.

An Egyptair passenger plane was hijacked by a man who is said to be wearing a suicide bomb vest; the jet has landed at the airport in Larnaka, Cyprus, according to the country’s state broadcaster.

en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/03/29/743836/story.html

 

Egypt Retires 32 Judges for Opposing Morsi Ouster; Sisi Sacks Top Auditor For Criticizing Government Corruption

March 29, 2016

Supreme Judicial Council forces 32 judges into retirement for having opposed the army’s ouster of Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

AhlulBayt News Agency – Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has dismissed the country’s top auditor, who has criticized the government for alleged massive corruption.

Hesham Geneina, the head of the Central Auditing Organization, was sacked after being criticized by the country’s senior officials as well as pro-government media for his comments about widespread corruption in the government.

Geneina said in an interview with Youm 7 newspaper last December that government corruption had cost the country 600 billion Egyptian pounds (76 billion dollars) over four years.

Sisi later appointed a commission to probe the auditor’s claim, which quickly concluded that Geneina misled the public with support from “foreign” parties.

The president also named Geneina’s deputy, Hesham Badawi, as the new head of the Central Auditing Organization.

Also on Monday, the Supreme Judicial Council in Egypt forced 32 Egyptian judges into retirement for their opposition to the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi by Sisi — then the chief of the army — in 2013.

“Today, the Supreme Judicial Council took a decision to force 32 judges into retirement for intervening in politics and supporting a certain party,” a council official said, in reference to Morsi.

The council took a similar measure last week, retiring 15 other judges.

All the judges had been suspended in March 2015, when the council’s lower panel ordered their retirement. They had refused to recognize the legality of Morsi’s 2013 ouster by the army. Some of the judges even signed a statement to express their opposition to the coup.

Since the ouster of Morsi, thousands of anti-government protesters have been sentenced to jail by civilian and military courts in Egypt.

The ousted president himself and several leaders of his now-banned Muslim Brotherhood movement have also been sentenced to death

Egypt’s harsh crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a movement affiliated with Morsi, and its supporters has been widely condemned by international human rights organizations.

en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/03/29/743817/story.html

Mideast

Three Syrian children killed, six wounded as fire erupts at tent city in Turkey’s southeast

MARDİN

March/29/2016

Three Syrian migrant children were killed and six others were injured after a fire broke out at a tent city in the Derik district of Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province. The fire was the second reported in one week, after 21 tents burned down on March 25.

The fire started at around 3 a.m. on March 29, killing three children, aged between three and eight years old, and injuring six others. According to reports, the wounded were taken to the Derik State Hospital.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire.

The fire was the second reported in less than a week, as some 21 tents burned down after an electrical contact caused a fire on March 25. No casualties were reported on that day as fire squads from the tent city and the Derik municipality swiftly intervened.

The migrant camp in Mardin is located four kilometers away from the center of Derik and hosts some 8,970 Syrians in 2,100 tents, according to recent figures from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

Located along Turkey’s border with Syria, Mardin hosts over 13,000 migrants in camps built in three districts Midyat, Nusaybin and Derik. However, the refugees hosted in camps make up only a fraction of the total refugee population, as slightly over 280,000 of nearly three million of Turkey’s Syrian refugees are camp residents.

Turkey recently reached an agreement with the EU on a plan to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of Syrian and non-Syrian refugees, whereby Greece will send back all irregular migrants reaching its Aegean islands while Turkey will send an equal number of Syrians to EU countries. The EU will also provide an addition 3 billion euros in aid to Turkey, to be spent on providing better living conditions for Syrian migrants in the country.

hurriyetdailynews.com/fire-at-tent-city-in-turkeys-southeast-kills-three-syrian-migrant-children.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97032&NewsCatID=341

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Turkish PM calls on people to go out to spite terror

ANKARA: March/29/2016

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has called on the Turkish people to go out and show unity to spite consecutive terror attacks in a bid to keep public morale high and break the terrorists’ objective of spreading fear within society.

“Let’s not glorify those who are eyeing chaos and crisis. Let’s be in solidarity. Let’s go out, more than ever before, for our individual and social psychology, for our morale and motivation. These streets are ours, these cities, these people are all ours,” Davutoğlu said, during his weekly address to his party’s parliamentary group on March 29.

The prime minister’s call was aimed to revive social life throughout the country after a chain of terror attacks broke the people’s motivation to socialize in public places, including shopping malls and crowded city centres.

Scores of civilians and more than a dozen foreign tourists have been killed in attacks carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Ankara and Istanbul respectively in recent months.

“We will protect the life security, peace and welfare of our country like our honor,” he said, vowing terror organizations will never be able to achieve their goal of leading the people to pessimism.

“Whatever the conditions will be, we’ll never give up on democracy, rule of law, production, societal peace, social solidarity and public order. Everybody should actively get involved in life by keeping their morale high. They want us get detached from life but we should get involved in life in spite of their efforts,” the prime minister stressed.

“We have pain, mourning and martyrs. We will live through all of this in line with our nobility but we won’t break our morale. Our morale and motivation should be absolute against those who want to break our individual and social psychology. What we have to do as a person, as a society, as a civil society and political parties, is to stand against terrorism and be in full solidarity,” he added.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pm-calls-on-people-to-go-out-to-spite-terror.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97052&NewsCatID=338

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Turkey in ring of fire, as security zone off Syria-Iraqi lines: PM

Serkan Demirtaş – AMMAN/ANKARA

March/29/2016

Turkey, as a country shaken through consecutive massive terror activities, is currently in the middle of a ring of fire, the Turkish prime minister has said, adding its security starts off its Syria-Iraqi borders and over a line passing through Syria’s Latakia, Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul and Sulaymaniyah.

“We are in the middle of a ring of fire. I will not announce the number of terrorist attacks we have foiled,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told a group of journalists who accompanied him on his two-day trip to the Jordanian capital of Amman on March 27.

Suicide bomb attacks carried out by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in recent months have pushed Turkish authorities to rethink their security policies both inside and outside the country. The PKK has its headquarters and training camps in northern Iraq, while its offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD,) is settled in northern Syria, while ISIL controls a good size of territory in both Iraq and Syria.

“Turkey’s security zone starts from Latakia and through Aleppo, Mosul and Sulaymaniyah,” Davutoğlu stressed, in remarks which coincided with the Iraqi army offensive launched to liberate Mosul from ISIL. Upon a question on Turkey’s approach to this ongoing campaign for Mosul, Davutoğlu said Turkey would welcome the liberation of even the tiniest piece of land from ISIL, recalling it was the common objective of the anti-ISIL coalition.

Aleppo and Mosul two key towns

The fate of the Middle East is in the hands of two towns, Davutoğlu said, naming them as Syria’s Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul. “If Aleppo would fall into the hands of either Daesh [ISIL] or the [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad regime, then it would mean the end of hopes for Syria. Likewise if Daesh continues to control Mosul, Iraq will not be a peaceful country. But if Daesh would be replaced by extreme Shiite groups, then it would mean that civil war in Iraq will never end,” Davutoğlu said.

Therefore, for Mosul, it’s not important when Iraq’s third largest city is liberated but rather by whom it will be freed, the Turkish prime minister stressed, adding, “Mosul should be liberated by the people of Mosul. That’s why we have established the military base in Bashiqa.”

Three objectives of Turkish base in Iraq

Turkey established the base in Bashiqa, around 20 kilometers away from Mosul, in 2014 for the purpose of training local Iraqis and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fight against ISIL. Iraqi authorities have issued complaints about the base in recent months, as Turkey decided to reinforce its military presence at the base, which has become a frequent target of ISIL.

Davutoğlu, in his assessment of the base, announced three major objectives for Turkey’s military presence in the region. “The first is to assist the Iraqi government and people in their effort to save Mosul from Daesh. The second is the fact that Turkey’s security zone begins from the line of Latakia, Aleppo, Mosul and north of Sulaymaniyah. Anything that takes place in this area is our concern. Third is the potential for the PKK to settle to the Sinjar region north of Mosul and to move into Syria through Haseke. We do not want the PKK to get settled there,” he explained.

He also added that the liberation of Mosul would nix the PKK’s plans to control this aforementioned area and instead stabilize the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, adding “From this perspective, we support the liberation of Mosul.”

Iraq, Syria unable to control borders

Davutoğlu defining Turkey as being in the middle of a ring of fire is also relevant with the situation of its southern neighbor, which makes its fight against terror much more difficult compared to the past.

“I see three main differences in our fight against terrorism now and in the past. First of all, it’s the first time that both Iraq and Syria cannot control their borders. In the past, we could divert our focus to only the Iraqi border when there was a threat,” he said. The second difference is that Turkey is now fighting not only against the PKK but also ISIL, Davutoğlu said, in addition to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which recently resumed its acts inside the country. “Now 10 different terror organizations meet in the Kandil Mountains [the PKK’s headquarters in northern Iraq] and declare war against Turkey,” he said.

The third difficulty in the fight against terror is the fact that the government is now fighting against another organization which could leak into the security apparatus, Davutoğlu stated, in reference to the alleged “Fethullahist Terror Organization” (FETÖ). “All these terror organizations are providing logistics to each other,” he said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-in-ring-of-fire-as-security-zone-off-syria-iraqi-lines-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97020&NewsCatID=338

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Turkey ‘cannot wait forever’ for a new constitution, says Deputy PM

ANKARA

March/29/2016

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said a new draft constitution by the ruling party will likely be submitted to parliament by the end of April.

At a news conference following a cabinet meeting late on March 28, Kurtulmuş said: “This issue is not something that can wait forever. We are planning to bring our draft constitution to maturity and submit it to parliament by the end of April.”

Calling drafting a new constitution not only the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) “binding duty” but also “the most important political responsibility of all political parties in the Turkish parliament,”

Kurtulmuş reiterated his invitation to all parties to contribute to the process of writing a ”democratic, participatory and pluralistic” constitution.

“Nobody can run away from this duty. Therefore it is essential that this duty is fulfilled all together,” he said, adding that the AKP would continue to do its part to come to an agreement with other parties, and to find “common ground.”

A “Constitution Conciliation Committee” of 12 deputies — three from each of Turkey’s four parliamentary parties — had first met on Feb. 3, howeve, it broke up on Feb. 17 over the AKP’s demand that the new charter be based on a presidential system, which no opposition party backs.

Kurtulmuş said a referendum would be in order if parliament fails to pass the draft with a supermajority of 367 out of 550 votes.

“If not, we will be working to get 330 votes and refer the draft to the electorate’s vote,” he said.

There are 550 deputies in parliament, including one independent.  The AKP has 317 seats, followed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) with 133 seats.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have 59 and 40 seats, respectively.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-cannot-wait-forever-for-a-new-constitution-says-deputy-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97029&NewsCatID=338

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New Charter Will Redefine Top Court, Judiciary, Turkish PM Says

Serkan Demirtaş – AMMAN/ANKARA

March/29/2016

The new constitution being written by the ruling party will bring about a new definition for the role of the entire judiciary, including the Constitutional Court, the Turkish prime minister has said, adding they wouldn’t allow any constitutional body to establish superiority over the will of the people.

“It should be the people that use its will. The sovereignty that is used by constitutional bodies cannot be regarded as the people’s will,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on March 27, during a meeting with journalists in Amman. Davutoğlu recalled the constitution made in the early 1960s following the coup d’état which introduced a number of constitutional bodies that imposed tutelage over democratically elected politicians.

“Of course all of these will be redefined. The judiciary will be redefined. And the legislative cannot continue in the current understanding. It should be noted that what the Constitutional Court has been doing is not using the people’s will and it should not be. Courts are to provide justice; the sovereignty, however, should be used by the freely elected representatives of the people.”

Davutoğlu’s statements came as he instructed his party to speed up efforts to draft the new constitution after a parliamentary commission formed by the four parties in parliament was dissolved. “We can’t leave this promise of ours unfulfilled just because other parties failed to do their share. People would cool to the idea of a new constitution if no concrete steps are taken,” he said.

The structure of the new constitution will be readied within a month or so, he said, hinting it wouldn’t be based on political conjuncture, as his party still needed at least 14 lawmakers to bring the new constitution to a referendum. “The new constitution will not be a product of negotiation [to get support of at least 14 lawmakers or a political party group]. It won’t be a revisionist charter either. We are aiming at a different constitution with its writing, culture, language and philosophy. We’ll continue to work until we’ll find this philosophy,” he said.

People’s psychology should be ameliorated

Another top issue Davutoğlu discussed with the reporters was the ongoing spread of fear in society in the aftermath of successive terrorist attacks targeting civilians in large cities.

“We should do everything to stop terror from imprisoning us in its own agenda. People’s psychology should be changed. Talking about terror everyday serves the interest of terror,” he stressed.

A visit to Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek after the deadly attack which killed four foreign tourists was a good example on how government members could help this change in people’s psychology, Davutoğlu said. “I told all my minister friends: It will be you who shows up first. We’ll go to shopping malls and appear within social life.”

US should be consistent

Another issue which has heavily preoccupied Turkish public opinion was the arrest of Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in the United States on the grounds he committed offenses against American interests by violating sanctions on Iran and money laundering.

Davutoğlu, in his first remarks on the issue, recalled that Zarrab’s arrest had no reflection on the concerns of Turkey so far. “We will make our position and thinking clear if the content of the case or discussions on it somehow relate to Turkey. There has been no such thing so far,” he said.

“But,” he continued, “this also comes to our minds: Why would such a meticulous justice system not bring some of our citizens of the Republic of Turkey residing in the U.S. even though they have been engaged in various plots?”

In a clear reference to self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has been probed in Turkey over charges of terrorism, Davutoğlu said: “So many investigations were launched in the past [in the U.S.] on the financial resources of this parallel structure. Where did all they go? In this regard, we would like to see a more consistent approach. We would like to see this same consistency on issues concerning money laundering.”

Davutoğlu added Turkey had nothing to refrain from in this case, “but first we have to see what is about. And then we’ll say what we think.”

hurriyetdailynews.com/new-charter-will-redefine-top-court-judiciary-pm-says-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97022&NewsCatID=338

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CHP sends delegation to monitor Zarrab case in the US

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency

March/29/2016

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will send a delegation to the U.S. to attend the hearing of Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish businessman who was arrested in Florida last week, in a bid to observe the case closely, the party’s deputy parliamentary group chair said March 28.

CHP parliamentary group chair Özgür Özel said the mission, which was initiated by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, will be carried out by CHP Prison Commission members Veli Ağbaba and Nurettin Demir, along with himself, as the three will head to the U.S. next week to attend the first hearing in which Zarrab will be tried on multiple charges of breaching U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“If he [Zarrab] needs, if cold air comes in through the door, we can bring him a towel from Muammer Güler, which he can put against the door. Or we can bring Egemen Bağış’s most sincere prayers. We can bring pies in exchange for Zafer Çağlayan’s wrist watch. We asked Mr. Çağlayan what to bring [for Zarrab], and he said ‘Why are you asking me? Our President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] is the one who knows everything. Tell him what is needed to go and he will send them.’” Özel said, referring to former Justice and Development Party (AKP) ministers whose names were involved in the country’s biggest corruption scandal on Dec. 17, 2013, along with Zarrab.

As part of the Dec. 17, 2013 probe, four former cabinet members, Economy Minister Çağlayan, Interior Minister Güler, European Union Minister Bağış and Urban Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar were accused of large-scale corruption but charges against them were later dropped.

Zarrab was also embroiled in the probe on charges of being the ringleader of a money laundering and gold smuggling ring in Turkey that circumnavigated sanctions against Iran.

“As the CHP, we will be following this case by taking into consideration all the details of the Turkish and the U.S. legal systems as much as possible in a pursuit of preventing a second ‘Deniz Feneri’ incident,” Özel said, adding they would also observe the case in order to “enable the transition of possible information, documents and statements to the Turkish jurisdiction.”

Meanwhile, regarding the arrest of Zarrab, Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said March 28 that “it is a decision given by a judge in the U.S.; it is a continuing process. It would not be appropriate for us to say something different about this subject. We will follow what will happen from here, as it is legal process. There is nothing [which has been] submitted to us directly [regarding the case].”

Zarrab was detained in Miami on March 19 by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents upon a probe launched against him by New York prosecutor Preet Bharara on charges of conspiracy to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions for the Iranian government or other entities to evade U.S. sanctions. He was arrested on March 21.

hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-sends-delegation-to-monitor-zarrab-case-in-the-us.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97016&NewsCatID=338

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Turkish president says 5,359 PKK militants ‘killed, caught or wounded’ over eight months

ANKARA

March/28/2016

Some 5,359 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed, caught or wounded in anti-terror operations since July 22, while some 355 security officials have lost their lives in terror attacks over the same period, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated.

“Some 5,359 terrorists were killed, wounded or caught inside and outside of Turkey through this period,” Erdoğan said in a speech addressing commanders-in-chief and military officers at the Turkish War Colleges in Istanbul on March 28.

Arguing that the country had to “pay a price” to exist in its region, Erdoğan vowed that none of the soldiers had died in vain.

“We made this territory our country with the blood of our martyrs over a thousand years. If we are to continue living here, we have to pay its price,” he said.

While providing figures about Turkey’s counter-terrorism efforts, Erdoğan also announced that the country has so far denied entry to some 38,000 foreign nationals for having links to terror organizations, deported some 3,500 militants and imprisoned around a thousand other suspects.

His remarks came soon after reports by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that 4,432 PKK militants have been killed since July 22 last year, while 377 security officials and 285 civilians were killed in terrorist attacks. Some 1,897 others were wounded during the same period.

Meanwhile, clashes continued in Turkey’s southeast on March 28.

The village head of Sarıören in the Siverek district of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, identified as İbrahim İnco, was killed and three soldiers were wounded in successive PKK attacks early on March 28.

Three soldiers were wounded as two PKK militants detonated an improvised explosive device they had previously placed under the road between Siverek and Viranşehir as a service shuttle passed carrying soldiers on duty at the Karageçi gendarmerie post.

The wounded soldiers were sent to Siverek State Hospital, while gendarmerie teams launched an operation to apprehend the militants responsible for the attack.

However, the militants stopped village head İnco’s automobile five kilometers from the scene of the incident, killed him, and extorted his vehicle in order to flee.

Another deadly attack was prevented on the same day in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, as 400 kilograms of explosives placed by PKK militants under the highway between Diyarbakır and the neighboring province of Batman were disposed of, Doğan News Agency reported.

The explosives, placed inside five tubes using some 2,000 meters of cable, were discovered by security officers from Diyarbakır’s provincial gendarmerie command during an effort to find explosives and mines on March 25.

The detonation of the explosives created a 2.5-meter-wide pit at the scene of the incident.

Over the weekend three soldiers and a policeman were killed in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Nusaybin district on March 27 while 32 PKK militants were killed.

Two soldiers were killed and five were wounded as an explosive placed by PKK militants detonated inside an abandoned building, trapping and wounding seven soldiers caught under the resulting debris. Gendarmerie Cpt. Halil Özdemir and Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. İbrahim Etöz later succumbed to their injuries at the Nusaybin State Hospital.

Reports indicate that five wounded soldiers are receiving treatment at the same hospital.

In a separate attack in the district earlier on the same day, a soldier and a policeman were killed while one soldier and five police officers were wounded. Special operations police Coşkun Nazilli and specialized sergeant Vedat Aykut were killed as PKK militants opened fire at security forces in the district. The wounded security officials are being treated at a hospital, Turkish Armed Forces announced.

PKK militants also targeted firefighters in Nusaybin at around midday on March 27 when they were trying to put out a fire that had broken out at a house in the district’s Yenişehir neighborhood.

Another fire truck that was going for support also came under fire but nobody was injured.

The two trucks were abandoned and the firefighters were evacuated in another vehicle.

The injured fireman, Hacı Yıldız, was taken to the Nusaybin State Hospital before he was moved to the Mardin State Hospital.

The military said March 28 that 12 PKK militants were killed on the same day in Mardin, in addition to 16 in the southeastern province of Şırnak and four in Hakkari province’s Yüksekova district.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-president-says-5359-pkk-militants-killed-caught-or-wounded-over-eight-months.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97002&NewsCatID=341

Mideast

Three Syrian children killed, six wounded as fire erupts at tent city in Turkey’s southeast

MARDİN

March/29/2016

Three Syrian migrant children were killed and six others were injured after a fire broke out at a tent city in the Derik district of Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province. The fire was the second reported in one week, after 21 tents burned down on March 25.

The fire started at around 3 a.m. on March 29, killing three children, aged between three and eight years old, and injuring six others. According to reports, the wounded were taken to the Derik State Hospital.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire.

The fire was the second reported in less than a week, as some 21 tents burned down after an electrical contact caused a fire on March 25. No casualties were reported on that day as fire squads from the tent city and the Derik municipality swiftly intervened.

The migrant camp in Mardin is located four kilometers away from the center of Derik and hosts some 8,970 Syrians in 2,100 tents, according to recent figures from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

Located along Turkey’s border with Syria, Mardin hosts over 13,000 migrants in camps built in three districts Midyat, Nusaybin and Derik. However, the refugees hosted in camps make up only a fraction of the total refugee population, as slightly over 280,000 of nearly three million of Turkey’s Syrian refugees are camp residents.

Turkey recently reached an agreement with the EU on a plan to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of Syrian and non-Syrian refugees, whereby Greece will send back all irregular migrants reaching its Aegean islands while Turkey will send an equal number of Syrians to EU countries. The EU will also provide an addition 3 billion euros in aid to Turkey, to be spent on providing better living conditions for Syrian migrants in the country.

hurriyetdailynews.com/fire-at-tent-city-in-turkeys-southeast-kills-three-syrian-migrant-children.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97032&NewsCatID=341

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Turkish PM calls on people to go out to spite terror

ANKARA: March/29/2016

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has called on the Turkish people to go out and show unity to spite consecutive terror attacks in a bid to keep public morale high and break the terrorists’ objective of spreading fear within society.

“Let’s not glorify those who are eyeing chaos and crisis. Let’s be in solidarity. Let’s go out, more than ever before, for our individual and social psychology, for our morale and motivation. These streets are ours, these cities, these people are all ours,” Davutoğlu said, during his weekly address to his party’s parliamentary group on March 29.

The prime minister’s call was aimed to revive social life throughout the country after a chain of terror attacks broke the people’s motivation to socialize in public places, including shopping malls and crowded city centres.

Scores of civilians and more than a dozen foreign tourists have been killed in attacks carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Ankara and Istanbul respectively in recent months.

“We will protect the life security, peace and welfare of our country like our honor,” he said, vowing terror organizations will never be able to achieve their goal of leading the people to pessimism.

“Whatever the conditions will be, we’ll never give up on democracy, rule of law, production, societal peace, social solidarity and public order. Everybody should actively get involved in life by keeping their morale high. They want us get detached from life but we should get involved in life in spite of their efforts,” the prime minister stressed.

“We have pain, mourning and martyrs. We will live through all of this in line with our nobility but we won’t break our morale. Our morale and motivation should be absolute against those who want to break our individual and social psychology. What we have to do as a person, as a society, as a civil society and political parties, is to stand against terrorism and be in full solidarity,” he added.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pm-calls-on-people-to-go-out-to-spite-terror.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97052&NewsCatID=338

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Turkey in ring of fire, as security zone off Syria-Iraqi lines: PM

Serkan Demirtaş – AMMAN/ANKARA

March/29/2016

Turkey, as a country shaken through consecutive massive terror activities, is currently in the middle of a ring of fire, the Turkish prime minister has said, adding its security starts off its Syria-Iraqi borders and over a line passing through Syria’s Latakia, Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul and Sulaymaniyah.

“We are in the middle of a ring of fire. I will not announce the number of terrorist attacks we have foiled,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told a group of journalists who accompanied him on his two-day trip to the Jordanian capital of Amman on March 27.

Suicide bomb attacks carried out by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in recent months have pushed Turkish authorities to rethink their security policies both inside and outside the country. The PKK has its headquarters and training camps in northern Iraq, while its offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD,) is settled in northern Syria, while ISIL controls a good size of territory in both Iraq and Syria.

“Turkey’s security zone starts from Latakia and through Aleppo, Mosul and Sulaymaniyah,” Davutoğlu stressed, in remarks which coincided with the Iraqi army offensive launched to liberate Mosul from ISIL. Upon a question on Turkey’s approach to this ongoing campaign for Mosul, Davutoğlu said Turkey would welcome the liberation of even the tiniest piece of land from ISIL, recalling it was the common objective of the anti-ISIL coalition.

Aleppo and Mosul two key towns

The fate of the Middle East is in the hands of two towns, Davutoğlu said, naming them as Syria’s Aleppo and Iraq’s Mosul. “If Aleppo would fall into the hands of either Daesh [ISIL] or the [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad regime, then it would mean the end of hopes for Syria. Likewise if Daesh continues to control Mosul, Iraq will not be a peaceful country. But if Daesh would be replaced by extreme Shiite groups, then it would mean that civil war in Iraq will never end,” Davutoğlu said.

Therefore, for Mosul, it’s not important when Iraq’s third largest city is liberated but rather by whom it will be freed, the Turkish prime minister stressed, adding, “Mosul should be liberated by the people of Mosul. That’s why we have established the military base in Bashiqa.”

Three objectives of Turkish base in Iraq

Turkey established the base in Bashiqa, around 20 kilometers away from Mosul, in 2014 for the purpose of training local Iraqis and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fight against ISIL. Iraqi authorities have issued complaints about the base in recent months, as Turkey decided to reinforce its military presence at the base, which has become a frequent target of ISIL.

Davutoğlu, in his assessment of the base, announced three major objectives for Turkey’s military presence in the region. “The first is to assist the Iraqi government and people in their effort to save Mosul from Daesh. The second is the fact that Turkey’s security zone begins from the line of Latakia, Aleppo, Mosul and north of Sulaymaniyah. Anything that takes place in this area is our concern. Third is the potential for the PKK to settle to the Sinjar region north of Mosul and to move into Syria through Haseke. We do not want the PKK to get settled there,” he explained.

He also added that the liberation of Mosul would nix the PKK’s plans to control this aforementioned area and instead stabilize the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, adding “From this perspective, we support the liberation of Mosul.”

Iraq, Syria unable to control borders

Davutoğlu defining Turkey as being in the middle of a ring of fire is also relevant with the situation of its southern neighbor, which makes its fight against terror much more difficult compared to the past.

“I see three main differences in our fight against terrorism now and in the past. First of all, it’s the first time that both Iraq and Syria cannot control their borders. In the past, we could divert our focus to only the Iraqi border when there was a threat,” he said. The second difference is that Turkey is now fighting not only against the PKK but also ISIL, Davutoğlu said, in addition to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which recently resumed its acts inside the country. “Now 10 different terror organizations meet in the Kandil Mountains [the PKK’s headquarters in northern Iraq] and declare war against Turkey,” he said.

The third difficulty in the fight against terror is the fact that the government is now fighting against another organization which could leak into the security apparatus, Davutoğlu stated, in reference to the alleged “Fethullahist Terror Organization” (FETÖ). “All these terror organizations are providing logistics to each other,” he said.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-in-ring-of-fire-as-security-zone-off-syria-iraqi-lines-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97020&NewsCatID=338

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Turkey ‘cannot wait forever’ for a new constitution, says Deputy PM

ANKARA

March/29/2016

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said a new draft constitution by the ruling party will likely be submitted to parliament by the end of April.

At a news conference following a cabinet meeting late on March 28, Kurtulmuş said: “This issue is not something that can wait forever. We are planning to bring our draft constitution to maturity and submit it to parliament by the end of April.”

Calling drafting a new constitution not only the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) “binding duty” but also “the most important political responsibility of all political parties in the Turkish parliament,”

Kurtulmuş reiterated his invitation to all parties to contribute to the process of writing a ”democratic, participatory and pluralistic” constitution.

“Nobody can run away from this duty. Therefore it is essential that this duty is fulfilled all together,” he said, adding that the AKP would continue to do its part to come to an agreement with other parties, and to find “common ground.”

A “Constitution Conciliation Committee” of 12 deputies — three from each of Turkey’s four parliamentary parties — had first met on Feb. 3, howeve, it broke up on Feb. 17 over the AKP’s demand that the new charter be based on a presidential system, which no opposition party backs.

Kurtulmuş said a referendum would be in order if parliament fails to pass the draft with a supermajority of 367 out of 550 votes.

“If not, we will be working to get 330 votes and refer the draft to the electorate’s vote,” he said.

There are 550 deputies in parliament, including one independent.  The AKP has 317 seats, followed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) with 133 seats.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have 59 and 40 seats, respectively.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-cannot-wait-forever-for-a-new-constitution-says-deputy-pm.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97029&NewsCatID=338

—–

 

New Charter Will Redefine Top Court, Judiciary, Turkish PM Says

Serkan Demirtaş – AMMAN/ANKARA

March/29/2016

The new constitution being written by the ruling party will bring about a new definition for the role of the entire judiciary, including the Constitutional Court, the Turkish prime minister has said, adding they wouldn’t allow any constitutional body to establish superiority over the will of the people.

“It should be the people that use its will. The sovereignty that is used by constitutional bodies cannot be regarded as the people’s will,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on March 27, during a meeting with journalists in Amman. Davutoğlu recalled the constitution made in the early 1960s following the coup d’état which introduced a number of constitutional bodies that imposed tutelage over democratically elected politicians.

“Of course all of these will be redefined. The judiciary will be redefined. And the legislative cannot continue in the current understanding. It should be noted that what the Constitutional Court has been doing is not using the people’s will and it should not be. Courts are to provide justice; the sovereignty, however, should be used by the freely elected representatives of the people.”

Davutoğlu’s statements came as he instructed his party to speed up efforts to draft the new constitution after a parliamentary commission formed by the four parties in parliament was dissolved. “We can’t leave this promise of ours unfulfilled just because other parties failed to do their share. People would cool to the idea of a new constitution if no concrete steps are taken,” he said.

The structure of the new constitution will be readied within a month or so, he said, hinting it wouldn’t be based on political conjuncture, as his party still needed at least 14 lawmakers to bring the new constitution to a referendum. “The new constitution will not be a product of negotiation [to get support of at least 14 lawmakers or a political party group]. It won’t be a revisionist charter either. We are aiming at a different constitution with its writing, culture, language and philosophy. We’ll continue to work until we’ll find this philosophy,” he said.

People’s psychology should be ameliorated

Another top issue Davutoğlu discussed with the reporters was the ongoing spread of fear in society in the aftermath of successive terrorist attacks targeting civilians in large cities.

“We should do everything to stop terror from imprisoning us in its own agenda. People’s psychology should be changed. Talking about terror everyday serves the interest of terror,” he stressed.

A visit to Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek after the deadly attack which killed four foreign tourists was a good example on how government members could help this change in people’s psychology, Davutoğlu said. “I told all my minister friends: It will be you who shows up first. We’ll go to shopping malls and appear within social life.”

US should be consistent

Another issue which has heavily preoccupied Turkish public opinion was the arrest of Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in the United States on the grounds he committed offenses against American interests by violating sanctions on Iran and money laundering.

Davutoğlu, in his first remarks on the issue, recalled that Zarrab’s arrest had no reflection on the concerns of Turkey so far. “We will make our position and thinking clear if the content of the case or discussions on it somehow relate to Turkey. There has been no such thing so far,” he said.

“But,” he continued, “this also comes to our minds: Why would such a meticulous justice system not bring some of our citizens of the Republic of Turkey residing in the U.S. even though they have been engaged in various plots?”

In a clear reference to self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has been probed in Turkey over charges of terrorism, Davutoğlu said: “So many investigations were launched in the past [in the U.S.] on the financial resources of this parallel structure. Where did all they go? In this regard, we would like to see a more consistent approach. We would like to see this same consistency on issues concerning money laundering.”

Davutoğlu added Turkey had nothing to refrain from in this case, “but first we have to see what is about. And then we’ll say what we think.”

hurriyetdailynews.com/new-charter-will-redefine-top-court-judiciary-pm-says-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97022&NewsCatID=338

—-

 

CHP sends delegation to monitor Zarrab case in the US

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency

March/29/2016

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will send a delegation to the U.S. to attend the hearing of Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish businessman who was arrested in Florida last week, in a bid to observe the case closely, the party’s deputy parliamentary group chair said March 28.

CHP parliamentary group chair Özgür Özel said the mission, which was initiated by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, will be carried out by CHP Prison Commission members Veli Ağbaba and Nurettin Demir, along with himself, as the three will head to the U.S. next week to attend the first hearing in which Zarrab will be tried on multiple charges of breaching U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“If he [Zarrab] needs, if cold air comes in through the door, we can bring him a towel from Muammer Güler, which he can put against the door. Or we can bring Egemen Bağış’s most sincere prayers. We can bring pies in exchange for Zafer Çağlayan’s wrist watch. We asked Mr. Çağlayan what to bring [for Zarrab], and he said ‘Why are you asking me? Our President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] is the one who knows everything. Tell him what is needed to go and he will send them.’” Özel said, referring to former Justice and Development Party (AKP) ministers whose names were involved in the country’s biggest corruption scandal on Dec. 17, 2013, along with Zarrab.

As part of the Dec. 17, 2013 probe, four former cabinet members, Economy Minister Çağlayan, Interior Minister Güler, European Union Minister Bağış and Urban Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar were accused of large-scale corruption but charges against them were later dropped.

Zarrab was also embroiled in the probe on charges of being the ringleader of a money laundering and gold smuggling ring in Turkey that circumnavigated sanctions against Iran.

“As the CHP, we will be following this case by taking into consideration all the details of the Turkish and the U.S. legal systems as much as possible in a pursuit of preventing a second ‘Deniz Feneri’ incident,” Özel said, adding they would also observe the case in order to “enable the transition of possible information, documents and statements to the Turkish jurisdiction.”

Meanwhile, regarding the arrest of Zarrab, Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said March 28 that “it is a decision given by a judge in the U.S.; it is a continuing process. It would not be appropriate for us to say something different about this subject. We will follow what will happen from here, as it is legal process. There is nothing [which has been] submitted to us directly [regarding the case].”

Zarrab was detained in Miami on March 19 by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents upon a probe launched against him by New York prosecutor Preet Bharara on charges of conspiracy to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions for the Iranian government or other entities to evade U.S. sanctions. He was arrested on March 21.

hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-sends-delegation-to-monitor-zarrab-case-in-the-us.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97016&NewsCatID=338

—-

 

Turkish president says 5,359 PKK militants ‘killed, caught or wounded’ over eight months

ANKARA

March/28/2016

Some 5,359 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed, caught or wounded in anti-terror operations since July 22, while some 355 security officials have lost their lives in terror attacks over the same period, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated.

“Some 5,359 terrorists were killed, wounded or caught inside and outside of Turkey through this period,” Erdoğan said in a speech addressing commanders-in-chief and military officers at the Turkish War Colleges in Istanbul on March 28.

Arguing that the country had to “pay a price” to exist in its region, Erdoğan vowed that none of the soldiers had died in vain.

“We made this territory our country with the blood of our martyrs over a thousand years. If we are to continue living here, we have to pay its price,” he said.

While providing figures about Turkey’s counter-terrorism efforts, Erdoğan also announced that the country has so far denied entry to some 38,000 foreign nationals for having links to terror organizations, deported some 3,500 militants and imprisoned around a thousand other suspects.

His remarks came soon after reports by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that 4,432 PKK militants have been killed since July 22 last year, while 377 security officials and 285 civilians were killed in terrorist attacks. Some 1,897 others were wounded during the same period.

Meanwhile, clashes continued in Turkey’s southeast on March 28.

The village head of Sarıören in the Siverek district of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, identified as İbrahim İnco, was killed and three soldiers were wounded in successive PKK attacks early on March 28.

Three soldiers were wounded as two PKK militants detonated an improvised explosive device they had previously placed under the road between Siverek and Viranşehir as a service shuttle passed carrying soldiers on duty at the Karageçi gendarmerie post.

The wounded soldiers were sent to Siverek State Hospital, while gendarmerie teams launched an operation to apprehend the militants responsible for the attack.

However, the militants stopped village head İnco’s automobile five kilometers from the scene of the incident, killed him, and extorted his vehicle in order to flee.

Another deadly attack was prevented on the same day in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, as 400 kilograms of explosives placed by PKK militants under the highway between Diyarbakır and the neighboring province of Batman were disposed of, Doğan News Agency reported.

The explosives, placed inside five tubes using some 2,000 meters of cable, were discovered by security officers from Diyarbakır’s provincial gendarmerie command during an effort to find explosives and mines on March 25.

The detonation of the explosives created a 2.5-meter-wide pit at the scene of the incident.

Over the weekend three soldiers and a policeman were killed in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Nusaybin district on March 27 while 32 PKK militants were killed.

Two soldiers were killed and five were wounded as an explosive placed by PKK militants detonated inside an abandoned building, trapping and wounding seven soldiers caught under the resulting debris. Gendarmerie Cpt. Halil Özdemir and Gendarmerie Specialized Sgt. İbrahim Etöz later succumbed to their injuries at the Nusaybin State Hospital.

Reports indicate that five wounded soldiers are receiving treatment at the same hospital.

In a separate attack in the district earlier on the same day, a soldier and a policeman were killed while one soldier and five police officers were wounded. Special operations police Coşkun Nazilli and specialized sergeant Vedat Aykut were killed as PKK militants opened fire at security forces in the district. The wounded security officials are being treated at a hospital, Turkish Armed Forces announced.

PKK militants also targeted firefighters in Nusaybin at around midday on March 27 when they were trying to put out a fire that had broken out at a house in the district’s Yenişehir neighborhood.

Another fire truck that was going for support also came under fire but nobody was injured.

The two trucks were abandoned and the firefighters were evacuated in another vehicle.

The injured fireman, Hacı Yıldız, was taken to the Nusaybin State Hospital before he was moved to the Mardin State Hospital.

The military said March 28 that 12 PKK militants were killed on the same day in Mardin, in addition to 16 in the southeastern province of Şırnak and four in Hakkari province’s Yüksekova district.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-president-says-5359-pkk-militants-killed-caught-or-wounded-over-eight-months.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97002&NewsCatID=341

Europe

Belgian Investigators Struggling To Uncover Jihadist Network

March 29, 2016

(AFP) – Belgian investigators are struggling to build a clear picture of the jihadist team that bombed Brussels airport and metro, releasing the only suspect charged over the attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.

As links between cells in several countries emerge, police across Europe have stepped up efforts to unravel extremist networks on the continent.

Just four months after the jihadist carnage that killed 130 people in Paris, investigators in France say they have foiled another major attack there, swooping on two addresses in the capital’s suburbs and seizing an arsenal of weapons.

There are few details about the plot, except that it may also have involved people in Belgium and the Netherlands.

– Brussels manhunt –

Police have released a new video of the third suspect in the March 22 Zaventem airport attack — the so-called “man in the hat” seen with the two suicide bombers — who fled after his own bomb did not go off.

A suspect named as Faycal C. was charged with terrorist murder and investigators had thought he was the man in the hat, but he was released Monday after suspicions “were not substantiated”.

Najim Laachraoui, one of the two airport suicide bombers, is believed to have made bombs for both Brussels and November’s Paris attacks.

Belgium’s federal prosecutor revealed Friday that Laachraoui’s DNA was found on a suicide vest and a piece of cloth at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, and on a bomb at the Stade de France stadium.

– Thwarted attack in France –

French police said they halted an attack by 34-year-old Reda Kriket after arresting him Thursday and discovering an arsenal of weapons in the Paris suburbs.

In one apartment, police found five Kalashnikov assault rifles, a machine gun, seven handguns and explosives — including TATP, the improvised explosive favoured by IS jihadists.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said a planned attack at “an advanced stage” had been foiled, without giving further details.

Belgian authorities arrested two men Friday on suspicion of involvement with the plot.

Kriket was convicted in absentia in Belgium last year at the trial of a jihadist network linked to Syria in which another of the defendants was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks.

The network was led by Khalid Zerkani, a 41-year-old from Brussels, described by authorities as Belgium’s “largest recruiter of aspiring jihadists”.

Among those who went to Syria through the network were Abaaoud and another Paris attacker, Chakib Akrouh.

Zerkani is also thought to have been a mentor to Laachraoui.

The two men held in Brussels, suspected of working with Kriket on plans for a new French attack, have been named as Abderamane A. and Rabah N. They have been charged with “participation in a terrorist group”.

Abderamane A., who police shot in the leg after a stand-off at a tram-stop in Brussels’ Schaerbeek district, appears to be a jihadist veteran.

He was convicted in Paris in 2005 at the trial of a network accused of providing logistical support to the killers of legendary Afghan resistance fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud, assassinated in 2001.

– Rotterdam raids –

Dutch police found ammunition in the house of a French national arrested Sunday in Rotterdam in connection with the new French plot.

The man, a 32-year-old identified as Anis B., is thought to have previously travelled to Syria.

No explosives were found during the raid in which a total of four men, including two suspects of Algerian background, were arrested.

Anis. B is expected to be handed over to France after an extradition hearing in Amsterdam.

– The Italian connection –

An Algerian held in Italy as part of a probe into fake ID documents used by the Paris and Brussels attackers was interrogated Sunday but has refused to answer questions.

The suspect, named as 40-year-old Djamal Eddine Ouali, was detained under a European arrest warrant near the southern city of Salerno on Saturday, and questioned in prison by prosecutors.

Italy’s ANSA news agency reported that the forgery ring created fake papers used by Najim Laachraoui as well as Salah Abdeslam — prime suspect in the Paris attacks — and Mohamed Belkaid, who was shot dead by Brussels police on March 15.

Investigators think Laachraoui and Belkaid were in phone contact with several of the Paris attackers on the night of France’s worst ever terror attacks.

breitbart.com/london/2016/03/29/latest-belgian-investigators-struggling-to-uncover-jihadist-network/

—–

 

Fifty of Europe’s most dangerous offenders have slipped into Britain undetected

Vote Leave, the eurosceptic campaign group led by Justice Secretary Michael Gove, warns that EU freedom of movement laws have enabled murderers, paedophiles and terrorists to enter Britain undetected

29 Mar 2016

Fifty of Europe’s most dangerous offenders including murderers, rapists, paedophiles and one of the world’s most wanted terrorists have slipped into Britain undetected, a new analysis has found.

Vote leave, the eurosceptic campaign group led by Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, warned that foreign offenders are using EU freedom of movement laws to enter Britain despite being convicted of serious crimes.

At total of 45 of them have gone on to commit further crimes in Britain, including 14 who have gone on to kill, 13 who have committed sex offences and nine who carried out violent assaults.

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab  Photo: Rex Features

The cases include that of Arnis Zalkans, a Latvian suspected of murdering 14-year-old schoolgirl Alice Gross before killing himself. Before entering Britain he served seven years in prison in his home country for murdering his wife.

In another high-profile case Adelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian citizen who orchestrated the Paris terror attacks, entered Dover last year despite being subject to an arrest warrant.

In several of the cases senior judges expressed their astonishment that the offenders had been allowed into Britain despite the severity of their offences.

The analysis added to the deepening row within the Conservative Party over Europe as David Cameron has repeatedly argued that Britain will be safer if it votes to stay in.

Vote Leave claimed the European Union is “hanging out the welcome sign” to foreign criminals.

Dominic Raab, the eurosceptic justice minster, said: “European Union rules make it far too difficult to control who comes into the UK, and who we can deport. In security terms, that forces us to import risk, at the expense of public protection. There’s no escaping the fact that this weakens our security.”

A poster for Alice Gross attached to a lampost in central London and (inset) Arnis Zalkalns, the man police want to trace

A poster for Alice Gross attached to a lampost in central London and (inset) Arnis Zalkalns, the man police want to trace  Photo: GETTY IMAGES

However Damian Green, a Conservative MP and former Home Office minister who is campaigning for Britain to stay in, said that since 2010, 6,000 European citizens have been barred from entering the UK

He said: “Once again, the Leave campaign’s argument makes no sense, it is a mix of chaos and confusion.

“The truth is that the UK already has the best of both worlds. We maintain all the benefits of EU membership while opting out of the passport-free Schengen area and maintaining our border at Calais rather than Dover.”

The analysis is also likely to prove controversial as the family of Alice Gross previously said they did not want their daughter’s death “hijacked” by anti-immigration groups.

In a statement released through Liberty, the civil rights group, ahead of her inquest last year the family said that they “believe in freedom of movements and human rights”.

Foreign offenders have entered the UK under Europe’s “free movement” laws, which entitle EU citizens to travel and work across Europe.

While Britain can bar foreign offenders from entry if they are deemed to pose a “serious threat” to public security, European nations are not compelled to share the criminal records of their offenders.

Lithuanian child rapist Victor Akulic allowed into UK

Lithuanian child rapist Victor Akulic and Lady Justice Hallett  Photo: PA

In some of the most serious cases foreign offenders were allowed to enter Britain because the authorities had not been informed that they had committed serious crimes in their home country.

Vote Leave also highlighted concerns that while convicted murderers in the UK are subject to supervision for the remainder of their life on release, the same approach does not apply to those convicted of murder in other EU states.

As well as Zalkans, the 45 criminals from the EU who have committed further offences in the UK include Victor Akulic, a Lithuanian who raped a 40-year-old woman and then forced her to watch a recording of the horrific attack just months after arriving in the UK in 2010.

Immigration has overtaken the NHS as the most commonly mentioned worry of the British voter, according to an Ipsos Mori poll

Immigration has overtaken the NHS as the most commonly mentioned worry of the British voter, according to an Ipsos Mori poll  Photo: REX

In 2012 Kajus Scuka, a murderer from the the Czech Republic who had served 11 years for murdering his wife in his home country, was jailed for a series of sex attacks including a knifepoint rape.

Until he was caught, police did not even realise that he was in the country. Judge Peter Kelson said at the time: “It seems to me [to be] the case that even with your convictions for murder and assaults you were free to enjoy the same freedom of movement as any other European citizen.”

telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/12205803/Fifty-of-Europes-most-dangerous-offenders-have-slipped-into-Britain-undetected.html

——

North America

US government accesses San Bernardino killer’s iPhone, drops case against Apple

The US Justice Department has dropped its court case with Apple after successfully accessing data on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernadino shooters. Apple had refused to hack the phone.

The US Justice Department said on Monday it had accessed the data on the encrypted iPhone.

“Our decision to conclude the litigation was based solely on the fact that, with the recent assistance of a third party, we are now able to unlock that iPhone without compromising any information on the phone,” US attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement.

In a government status report to the US District Court for California, attornies wrote that the government “no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc.”

Apple fought a court order obtained by the FBI in February, which required it to write new software to disable passcode protection and allow access to the phone used by one of the San Bernadino shooters, Rizwan Farook.

Memorial for victims of the San Bernadino shootings in December

Candles lit at a memorial for victims of the San Bernadino shootings

Farook and his wife carried out, and were killed in, a shooting in San Bernadino, California, in December. Fourteen people died, and 22 were wounded. Justice Department spokeswoman Melanie Newman said, “The FBI is currently reviewing the information on the phone, consistent with standard investigatory procedures.”

Apple declined immediate comment on Monday. The company had previously argued that creating a workaround for the security system on one iPhone would endanger all iPhone users.

Last week, the Justice Department announced an “outside party” was helping investigators access the data. There have been media reports that the Israeli technology company Cellebrite could have been the party involved. The company also declined comment.

US Attorney Decker said the investigation into the shootings would continue: “We will continue to explore every lead, and seek any appropriate legal process, to ensure our investigation collects all of the evidence related to this terrorist attack,” she said. “The San Bernardino victims deserve nothing less.”

dw.com/en/us-government-accesses-san-bernardino-killers-iphone-drops-case-against-apple/a-19147165

———-

 

US soldier shoots, kills boy near base in Afghanistan

March 29th, 2016

KABUL: A US soldier shot and killed an Afghan boy on Monday near an American airfield close to the capital Kabul, a senior Afghan police officer said.

The boy, whose age is unknown, had been carrying what looked like an automatic rifle near the Bagram Airfield, 50 kilometres from Kabul in neighbouring Parwan province, said the provincial police chief, Gen Zaman Mamozai.

An American soldier had warned the boy from a watchtower to stop, he said.

Local people gathered near the base to protest the killing, but dispersed once they were told about the circumstances, Mamozai said. He said the incident was being investigated.

Bagram officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Army Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland, spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, said the US military was looking into the incident.

Earlier, an Afghan official said overnight attacks by the Taliban on two police checkpoints in the volatile southern Helmand province killed at least eight police.

Col. Almas Khan, deputy police chief in Helmand, said the attack happened in the Gereshk district around midnight. Though he blamed the Taliban, the group did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack.

Afghan forces have been trying to reduce the number of checkpoints as they are vulnerable to insurgent attacks. In the southern Uruzgan province, an official said that two days of fighting between police and insurgents in the Charchino district had left 12 police and 20 Taliban dead.

District police chief Wali Dad said around a dozen police checkpoints had been attacked by Taliban gunmen, wounding another 27 police. Fighting was still going on. “If we don’t get support and reinforcements soon we might lose the whole district,” he said.

dawn.com/news/1248465/us-soldier-shoots-kills-boy-near-base-in-afghanistan

———-

 

Islamic Society Thanks Vandals Who Tagged Center

RYAN DELANEYFollow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook Find us on Google Plus

Islamic Society Thanks Vandals Who Tagged Center

PLAINFIELD, Ind. — There have been several possibly racially-motivated attacks in Indiana in recent weeks. Muslim leaders in central Indiana are treating the latest, vandalism at an Islamic center, as a teaching moment.

“As Muslims in America, we refuse to be victims in our own country,” the society’s secretary general, Hazem Bata, said Monday.

Security footage captured three young men writing racial slurs toward Middle Eastern Muslims and the Islamic State extremist group on the side of the Islamic Society of North America’s headquarters in Plainfield early Sunday morning.

Leaders there said one person inside the building witnessed the group driving away, but that the vandals did not try to enter the building. The paint has since been removed.

Flanked by Jewish and Christian faith leaders, with dozens more in attendance at a press conference, Bata thanked the vandals for bringing them together.

“The bonds between Muslims and their fellow Americans and the bonds between Muslims and their brothers and sisters in other faiths is stronger than the bonds between spray paint in brick,” Bata said.

Several other faith leaders spoke out in support of ISNA and condemned the attack. They also stressed Indiana’s need for a hate crimes law.

Bata says he doesn’t want these types of actions to go unchecked and the FBI was notified of the possible hate crime, but he said he doesn’t know yet if the center will press charges if the vandals are caught.

“The error of their actions is obvious to all,” Bata said.

Descriptive features, such as race or ethnicity, were not able to be made out from the security footage, Plainfield police spokeswoman Capt. Jill Lees said.

The ISNA vandalism happened four days after three young African immigrants, two of them Muslim, were found shot to death “execution-style” in Fort Wayne.

wfyi.org/news/articles/islamic-society-thanks-vandals-who-tagged-center

—-

 

Ethiopia: The biggest recipient of Turkish direct investment in Africa

March 28, 2016

Djibouti (HAN) March 28. 2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. BY: Tesfa-Alem Tekle. Ethiopia Africa’s top investment destination for Turkey. The Turkish ambassador to Ethiopia had disclosed that Ethiopia remains the biggest recipient of Turkish direct investment in Africa.

The US$1.5 billion Gibe III project dam is expected to generate 1870 MW of electricity. The newly-appointed Turkish envoy, Fatih Ulusoy, said the horn of Africa’s nation had so far attracted $2.5 billon of the total $6 billon Turkish direct foreign investments in Africa.

Ethiopia and Turkey also have strong commercial relationship with their trade volume seeing substantial growth every year.

According to the diplomat, Ethiopia is currently Turkey’s fourth largest trade partner among African countries. Last year, the two countries reached an agreement to boost their annual trade volume to half a billion USD after Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed bilateral as well as multilateral issues in Addis Ababa.

Both countries also signed a cooperation protocol in the areas of science and technology. “Flag carries of the two countries, Ethiopian Airlines and Turkish Airways, fly daily to Istanbul and Addis Ababa thus facilitating their trade relations,” Ulusoy told reporters.

The ambassador further said that his government is committed to further consolidate the current economic partnership with Ethiopia and successive dialogues are underway with government of Ethiopia to attract more Turkish investment.

Currently, Turkish investors in Ethiopia are engaged in textile, as well as in construction sectors. The two countries are working together in the energy sector with Turkish companies engaged in installing electric transmission lines and supplying transformers.

Turkey is also supporting Ethiopia’s infrastructural development projects including railway.

Last year, Turkey officially announced that it would provide $300 million loan for the Awash-Woldiya railway project. Many others are also on a process to invest in power generation, food processing and the manufacturing sector.

According to Ethiopian government huge human resources, investor friendly atmosphere, broad market alternatives as well as conducive policy and stable atmosphere are factors that are attracting foreign investors.

Sudan Tribune has also learnt that Turkish companies have created more than 33,000 job opportunities in Ethiopia. There are also activities on going to establish an all Turkish industrial zone in Ethiopia.

The ambassador commended Ethiopia for the role it is playing to ensure peace and security in Somalia and in the volatile east African region at large.

He pledged his country would work together with Ethiopia to ensure peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and to fight the emerging threat of terrorism in the region.

Ulusoy said both Ethiopia and Turkey host a large number of refugees and expressed his government’s commitment to cooperate with Ethiopia to improve the condition of the refugees.

Turkish business groups that have invested in Ethiopia have also the desire to support the current drought victims in the country, according to the ambassador.

In terms of diplomatic ties, the ambassador said “Ethiopia and Turkey have enjoyed a long-lasting relation in that Addis Ababa hosted the oldest Turkish embassy in Sub-Saharan Africa”.

Ethiopia is Africa’s fastest growing economic with an average annual growth of 10.5%.

The country has embarked massive infrastructure projects including power plants that would make a significant stride in terms of its ambitious plan to become a middle income country in 2025.

geeskaafrika.com/2016/03/28/ethiopia-the-biggest-recipient-of-turkish-direct-investment-in-africa/

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/taliban-to-pursue-violence-with-full-support-of-pakistani-military-intelligence–acting-afghan-intelligence-chief/d/106802

 

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