Showing posts from January 18, 2015

Colorado Teen Who Tried to Join ISIS Gets 4 Year Sentence

Shannon Maureen Conley, a 19-year-old nurse's aide from Colorado who wanted to join the terrorist group ISIS,  appeared  in a hijab and civilian clothes for her sentencing hearing Friday. Judge Raymond Moore handed down a four-year sentence, but announced from the bench that she needs psychiatric help. "I'm not saying that her decisions were all a product of mental illness... But she's a bit of a mess," said the judge. "She has no history in the criminal justice system. She is very young.... Teenagers make dumb decisions a lot."  Moore matched the sentence prosecutors requested for Conley, who says she now wants to be known as Amatullah, or servant of Allah, and also required three years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. But at her hearing, Conley also said that imprisonment has given her a chance to gain a deeper knowledge of Islam — and to see that she was wrong about ISIS. "Since my incarceration I have had a chance to rea

Just 5% of Kurdistan Remain Under Islamic State Control

An Iraqi Kurdish military official says that Peshmerga forces continue to advance and clear areas of Islamic State, with only a small percentage of Kurdish land remaining under the control of the militants. Anwar Haji Othman, Deputy Minister for the Peshmerga, told BasNews that Kurdish forces will continue their operations until all Iraqi Kurdish land is retaken from IS. “Only 5 percent of Kurdish land is under the control of Islamic State militants and hopefully those areas will cleared from the insurgents as soon as possible,” said Othman. Othman added that 90 – 95 percent of the Kurdistan Region and Kurdish areas outside the KRG borders, is currently under the control of Peshmerga forces. He also said that the recent success of Peshmerga forces to the west of Mosul has brought the destruction of IS closer. “Now Peshmerga forces have taken control of the main road between Mosul and Tal Afar and Syria, this causes huge problems for IS militants and they won’t be able to move as freely

Kurdish forces fire into Islamic State-controlled Mosul

24 Jan 2015 ARBIL, Iraq, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Kurdish forces have fired rockets into Mosul for the first time since Islamic State militants overran the northern Iraqi city last summer, Kurdish military sources said on Saturday. A Kurdish officer said 20 Grad missiles had been launched into Mosul on Friday after receiving information that Islamic State militants were gathering to meet near the city's Zuhour neighborhood. "We hit their positions," said Captain Shivan Ahmed, who belongs to the unit that fired the rockets from around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Mosul. Kurdish officials said the strikes had hit their intended target, but two residents of Mosul contacted by Reuters said three civilians were killed in the attack. It was not possible to independently verify the accounts. Following the attack, Islamic State militants published images of a girl lying in a hospital bed, whom they said had been wounded by fire from the Kurdish peshmerga fighters. U.S.-led airstri

Spain arrests four in swoop of suspected militant cell in North Africa

MADRID (Reuters) - Police in Spain's north African enclave of Ceuta arrested four men on Saturday suspected of belonging to a militant Islamist network that may have been planning an attack in Spain, the interior ministry said. Spain has stepped up security as well as efforts to prevent the radicalization of young Muslim citizens following attacks in Paris this month in which Islamist gunmen killed 17 people. "The four men, of Spanish nationality and Moroccan origin, have a very similar profile to those who carried out the attacks in Paris," the interior ministry said in a statement. Video released by the police showed around a dozen heavily-armed officers shining searchlights into windows before storming two houses in the narrow streets of Ceuta before dawn on Saturday. Police found a gun, combat uniforms, Spanish car licence plates and machetes when they made the arrests. "They are two pairs of brothers, highly radicalized and highly trained," Interior Ministe

Reports: ISIL video claims 1 of 2 Japanese hostages beheaded

The Islamic State reportedly released a new video Saturday claiming one of the two Japanese captives had been beheaded and issuing new demands for the other hostage's release. In the video, Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto holds a photo that purportedly shows the dead body of the second hostage, Haruna Yukawa.  SITE Intelligence Group , a U.S.-based organization that monitors extremist websites, said the video had been distributed across several Islamic State-linked Twitter accounts. The Japanese government said it is seeking to verify the video, BBC reported. A government spokesman called the apparent execution of Yukawa "outrageous" and "unacceptable," Reuters reported. The video could not be independently verified. SITE has reported on several Islamic State videos in the past that proved authentic. Kyodo News agency reported the same video had been e-mailed to the wife of one of the hostages. The release of the video sparked claims and counterclaims o

'Je suis Muslim': Hundreds rally in Australia over portrayal of Islam and Prophet Mohamed

Police said 14 people were told to move on from the rally for breaching the peace. But no one was charged and the event was calm with a huge group of demonstrators praying on the street. Muslims protest in Sydney over Charlie Hebdo Some of the 800-strong demonstrators in the Lakemba suburb – which has a large population of Lebanese Australians – held up placards with the slogan “Je suis Muslim” (French for “I am Muslim”). Other protesters held up signs saying 'insult to one prophet is an insult to all prophets' and 'mercy to mankind'. The slogan was a response to the latest front cover of  Charlie Hebdo that depicts a tearful Prophet Mohamed holding a sign saying “Je suis Charlie,” a sentiment expressed around the world in commemoration of 12 people who were shot dead by masked gunmen at the magazine’s offices. Muslims protesting against Charlie Hebdo in Grozny, Chechnya Similar demonstrations have been taking place around the world with one in the Philippines that drew

Boko Haram kills 15 villagers in Nigeria's northeast

January 25, 2015 - 1:20AM Cameroonian soldiers on patrol in Amchide, northern Cameroon, 1 kilometre from Nigeria.  Photo: AFP Adjust font size Read Later By  Bukar HUSSAIN  Boko Haram fighters have killed 15 villagers near Maiduguri, the city which is the epicentre of the Islamist group's six-year insurgency and where President Goodluck Jonathan is to launch his re-election campaign on Saturday. The killings near the embattled city took place Friday, on the eve of the president's visit, security sources and residents said. "The terrorists attacked Kambari village which is less than five kilometres to Maiduguri around 5am. They killed 15 people and set the entire hamlet ablaze," said a security source who requested anonymity. Advertisement "After fruitless efforts to enter Maiduguri through Konduga without success, the terrorists took a different route and attacked Kambari," he said. A woman from the village who simply gave her name as Kyallu said four of her

Ceuta: Suspected jihadists held in Spanish territory

Spain has stepped up security measures in recent weeks Four suspected members of an Islamist militant network have been arrested in the Spanish territory of Ceuta, which borders Morocco. Spain's interior ministry said police had targeted two properties in dawn raids. It added that officers were investigating whether the suspects were planning attacks in Spain. Spanish police have arrested about 50 suspected jihadists over the past year, the ministry said earlier this month. Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the men were two pairs of brothers who were "highly radicalised and highly trained", the Reuters news agency reported. The interior ministry made no link between Saturday's arrests and the continuing investigation into suspects linked to this month's attacks in Paris and thwarted plots in Belgium - some of whom are said to have travelled to Spain. "They are investigating whether those arrested, who formed a cell, had the infrastructure to

At Least 10 Killed in Rocket Attack on Port City in Eastern Ukraine

DONETSK, Ukraine — Rockets struck homes and a market in the Azov Sea port city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine on Saturday, killing at least 10 people. It was the latest indication that after a relative lull last fall  the war has flared up  again in eastern Ukraine.

Hamas leader’s son tells synagogue: ‘Islam is greatest threat to humanity’

22 January 2015 Tim Lamden . A Hamas leader’s son has told a packed synagogue that the Muslim prophet Muhammad is a “terrorist” and that “peaceful Muslims misinterpret Islam”. Mosab Hassan Yousef made the controversial comments while speaking to an audience at Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, in Norrice Lea, about his experiences of growing up in the West Bank as the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a top Hamas leader, before becoming a spy for Israel’s security service Shin Bet. Security was stepped up for the visit of Mr Yousef, who was flown in from his home in the USA especially for the talk, with visitors required to show photo ID before entering the synagogue on Thursday last week. In 2010, Mr Yousef published his autobiography, titled  Son of Hamas,  which revealed the story of how he became a Shin Bet spy after being arrested by Israeli forces, at the age of 17, over plans to attack Israeli targets. He has since renounced his Muslim faith to become a Christian and received a stan

‘American Sniper’ — War at a price

Critic’s Corner By Chuck Lilley “Hollywood finally got one right,” is high praise offered by several Iraq War veterans after viewing Director Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” a biopic film of former Navy Seal, Chris Kyle, the most highly decorated sniper in United States military history. While the film’s combat visuals are abundant and realistic (Eastwood enlists former Navy Seals as set consultants), the sobering “American Sniper” is anything but a predictable, John Wayne shoot-em-up. Eastwood and Cinematographer Tom Stern (“Grand Torino,” “Million Dollar Baby”) intermittently peel back the veneer of combat to expose the emotional toll of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on returning soldiers and their families. Much like his 1992 Academy Award-winning Western, “Unforgiven” (Best Picture), Eastwood skillfully handles the complexities of a conflicted, central character. Both the fictional William Munny in “Unforgiven” and the real-life Chris Kyle in “American Sniper” possess a

War Is Exploding Anew in Ukraine; Rebels Vow More

DONETSK, Ukraine — Unexpectedly, at the height of the Ukrainian winter, war has exploded anew on a half-dozen battered fronts across eastern  Ukraine , accompanied by increasing evidence that Russian troops and Russian equipment have been pouring into the region again. A shaky cease-fire has all but vanished, with rebel leaders vowing fresh attacks. Civilians are being hit by deadly mortars at bus stops. Tanks are rumbling down snowy roads in rebel-held areas with soldiers in unmarked green uniforms sitting on their turrets, waving at bystanders — a disquieting echo of the “little green men” whose appearance in Crimea opened this stubborn conflict in the spring. The renewed fighting has dashed any hopes of reinvigorating a cease-fire signed in September and honored more in name than in fact since then. It has also put to rest the notion that Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, would be so staggered by the twin blows of Western sanctions and a  collapse in oil prices  that he would f

Blasphemy, jihad and victimhood

The shootings in Paris caused images of the Prophet Muhammad to be published more widely than ever before The Charlie Hebdo murders marked a tipping point. By selecting a target that symbolised freedom of speech, the Kouachi brothers - who killed 12 people in their 7 January attack on the satirical magazine in Paris - compelled many Europeans to take a stand. Media houses that had declined to publish images of the Prophet Muhammad have now done so. By exposing that much of the West's self-censorship on issues such as blasphemy has been driven not only by reluctance to cause offence but also by fear of physical attack, the brothers obliged editors and publishers to find their courage. And the massive French marches showed that millions - including many Muslims - wanted to express their support for Western values. But that can't hide the deepening divide in European societies - just listen to the number of times you now hear the words "we" and "they". While vi

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

: January 23, 2015 10:58 PM VOA News Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi speaks during the closing session of the national dialogue conference in Sanaa, Jan. 21, 2014. Senior U.S. security officials said Friday that U.S. counterterrorism operations had been suspended in Yemen, following the collapse of the U.S.-backed government. Sources close to the situation said the resignations of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and the government of Prime Minister Khaled Bahah had left U.S. anti-terror operations in the country "paralyzed." The Reuters news agency quoted three U.S. officials as saying the halt in operations included drone strikes. It remained unclear late Friday how long the suspension would be in place. U.S. forces work alongside Yemeni security personnel in monitoring al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, from a key intelligence post in southern Yemen. But officials late Friday said much of that intelligence operation was now controlled by Shiite re

French aid worker freed in Central African Republic

A French aid worker abducted last Monday in the  Central African Republic  has been freed. Claudia Priest, who is 67, worked for a charity providing health and education to rural villages. She was released along with another humanitarian worker seized with her in the capital Bangui by mainly Christian anti-Balaka militia. They were formed to fight Muslim Seleka rebels who took power for 10 months in 2013. News of the aid worker’s release was  announced by the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius , who thanked the government and religious authorities of the Central African Republic. But no details were given of the circumstances surrounding the release.

Air strikes near Damascus kill 42, including 6 children: NGO

23 Jan 2015 Government air strikes on a rebel-held village east of Damascus Friday killed 42 civilians, including six children, a monitoring group said, denouncing what it called a massacre. "The number of people killed in air strikes on the village of Hammuriyeh has risen to 42, including six children," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Earlier, the Britain-based group had given a toll of 32 dead and denounced what it called a "massacre". A Syrian man walks with a young boy amid debris on January 21, 2015 following reported air strikes by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the besieged rebel held area of Douma, north-east of Damascus ©Abd Doumany (AFP/File) According to the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), a grassroots network of opponents, one of the strikes hit a square in Hammuriyeh where people had gathered for the weekly Muslim Friday prayer. Syria's air force began launching strikes against opposition-held areas in the summer of

Islamic State militants execute Japanese hostages Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa

Another gruesome ending ... a passer-by watches a TV news program reporting two Japanese hostages, Kenji Goto, left, and Haruna Yukawa, held by the Islamic State group. Picture: AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko   Source:  AP THE fate of two Japanese hostages held by Islamic State militants remains unknown although unconfirmed reports on Twitter state they have been executed. The militants had demanded $200 million in return for the lives of 47-year-old freelance journalist Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa, who had travelled to Syria to train with fighters. We have intercepted multiple ISIS communications claiming Japanese hostages have been killed.  #GhostSec   #OpISIS — DIGITΛSHΛDØW (@DigitaShadow)  January 23, 2015 The 72-hour time limit the militants had put on the ransom demand was due to expire at 2.50pm Tokyo time on Friday,  CNN reported . CNN also stated that an IS spokesman had told a Japanese broadcaster that the group would issue a statement “soon”, but no