Showing posts from March 29, 2020

Russian security service aborts terrorist attacks in two regions

Moscow, Apr 3 (Prensa Latina) Russia's Federal Security Bureau (FSB) aborted attempted terrorist attacks in the town of Stavropol and the autonomous district of Janta-Mansisk, where it dismantled at least two terrorist cells. According to the FSB press service, security agents located two members of the Islamic State (IS) in Stavropol. One of them was native to that region and the other one was from Dagestan. One of the terrorists resisted the arrest and was killed during the operation in the town of Neftekumsk. No soldiers or civilians were injured. Russian security also arrested three members of an IS cell in Liantar, in Janta-Mansisk, where they planned to attack law-enforcement agents and perpetrate attacks on open spaces of mass concentration. Authorities seized homemade bombs ready to be used, ammunitions and extremist literature, the National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK) noted.  Source:'

Coronavirus: Fighting al-Shabab propaganda in Somalia

AFP The jihadist group al-Shabab seeks to overthrow Somalia's central government Muslim clerics in conflict-hit Somalia are moving to the front-line of the battle against coronavirus in a bid to counter the propaganda of militant Islamists, writes BBC Somalia analyst Mary Harper. The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group has warned Muslims to beware of infectious diseases such as coronavirus, which it says are spread "by the crusader forces who have invaded the country and the disbelieving countries that support them". The militants control much of southern and central Somalia and have been a powerful force for well over a decade. Although there have only been a handful of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Somalia so far, the authorities are deeply worried that if the disease takes hold they will be unable to cope.  Koranic schools shut About 30 years of conflict have devastated health facilities. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are crowded into camps, wi

Somalia defends US military raids against Al-Shabaab amid civilian deaths

MOGADISHU, Somalia -  Airstrikes and subsequent surveillance are fundamental in operations targeting Al-Shabaab, Somalia said on Wednesday, even as Amnesty International questioned accountability for civilian deaths. Through the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism, FGS vehemently defended operations by the US Africa Command, insisting that "we go to extensive lengths of minimizing civilian casualties by respecting human law". Deprose Muchena, the group's East and Southern Africa director, unveiled a damning report about civilian casualties, adding that both parties are "extremely" unaccountable when it comes to casualties involving civilians. "The evidence is stacking up and it’s pretty damning. Not only does AFRICOM utterly fail at its mission to report civilian casualties in Somalia, but it doesn’t seem to care about the fate of the numerous families," she said in a statement, Tuesday. Statistics documented by Amnesty Internatio

Twenty trucks take US military equipment out of Iraq, into Syria: Report

The US has transferred its military equipment from Iraq to an area near the Syrian city of al-Hasakah, a report by Syria’s official news agency says. A convoy of 20 trucks, loaded with US logistical materials used in military engineering fortifications, took the equipment to a place near al-Hasakah, SANA reported on Wednesday night. The US forces havein recent monthsmoved thousands of trucks loaded with weapons, logistics and military equipment to al-Hasakah through illegal entry points, the report said. SANA says Washington’s moves are aimed at reinforcing the US presence in Syria’s Jazira Region and plundering its oil and other natural resources. The recent transfer of equipment comes as the US-led military coalition has recently startedevacuating its troops from a number of basesin Iraq, handing the bases over to the Iraqi military. “There is a timetable between the Iraqi government and the international coalition forces for the latter to hand over the sites,” Spokesm

Turkish Prisoner Release Bill Sparks Concern Among Rights Activists

As Turkish authorities proceed toward legislation permitting the release thousands of prisoners to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, several rights groups are criticizing the government for excluding imprisoned dissidents, human rights defenders and journalists. On Tuesday, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), with the support of the allied opposition Nationalist Action Party (MHP), submitted a draft bill to the Turkish parliament to address prison overcrowding during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it's approved, Turkey will either temporarily or permanently release up to 90,000 inmates. Human rights advocates say that while it is necessary to look for ways to reduce the prison population in the middle of the pandemic, this decision comes within the existing political and legal context in Turkey, which allows the government to use its anti-terrorism laws arbitrarily to target political dissents. “In Turkey's case, that means a set of anti-terrorism l

Islamic State and Al-Qaida See Global Chaos from Coronavirus as Opportunity to Strike Harder: Experts

Messages from the Islamic extremist groups show concern about the virus mixed with bravado, asserting it is punishment for non-Muslims while also urging followers to repent and take care of themselves. Both the Islamic State group and al-Qaida see the coronavirus as a threat, but some of their fighters also see the upheaval from the pandemic as an opportunity to win over more supporters and strike harder than before. Messages from the Islamic extremist groups show concern about the virus mixed with bravado, asserting it is punishment for non-Muslims while also urging followers to repent and take care of themselves. Al-Qaida suggested in a statement on Tuesday that non-Muslims use their time in quarantine to learn about Islam. But in a sharp commentary in its al-Naba newsletter in mid-March, IS urged followers to show no mercy and launch attacks in this time of crisis. In a commentary on Tuesday, the International Crisis Group warned that the pandemic threatens the global

On the Trail of Tablighi Jamaat: How Agencies Joined Forces to Clip Covid-19 Tentacles Leading Out of Delhi

The central government has managed to get a list of all those who attended the event and claims to have tracked down most with what appears to be a boots on the ground, old-school policing using the local intelligence networks. A total 2,137 people attended the Tablighi Jamaat global event at their headquarters in Banglewali Majid in Delhi’s Nizamuddin in the first and second week of March. This was preceded and succeeded by a number of smaller state and region specific meets which were attended by more than 6,000 people. In February, 16,000 people congregated in a mosque complex on the outskirts of Kaula Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. That event emerged as the source of thousands of coronavirus infections across Southeast Asia. Many preachers from this Tablighi Jamaat congregation attended the one in Nizamuddin and today it has turned into the country’s biggest coronavirus hotspot with potential impact across at least 12 states. A total of 134 cases are directly linked to

Coronavirus Outbreak: Saudi Arabia urges Muslims to hold off on making Hajj plans; country has reported over 1,500 cases

Dubai:  A senior Saudi official urged more than 1 million Muslims intending to perform the hajj to delay making plans this year €" comments suggesting the pilgrimage could be cancelled due to the new coronavirus pandemic. In February, the Kingdom took the extraordinary decision to close off the holy cities of Mecca and Medina to foreigners over the virus, a step which wasn't taken even during the 1918 flu epidemic that killed tens of millions worldwide. Restrictions have tightened in the Kingdom as it grapples with over 1,500 confirmed cases of the new virus. The kingdom has reported 10 deaths so far. West Asia has over 75,000 confirmed cases of the virus, most of those in Iran, and over 3,400 deaths. Iran's health ministry spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said Wednesday that the virus had killed another 138 people, pushing the country's death toll to 3,036 amid 47,593 confirmed cases. "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is prepared to secure the safety of al

Pakistan court overturns conviction in death of Daniel Pearl

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani court Thursday overturned the murder conviction of a British Pakistani man found guilty of the 2002 kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Instead, the court found Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh guilty of the lesser charge of kidnapping and sentenced him to seven years in prison. Pearl disappeared Jan. 23, 2002 in Karachi while researching links between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, who became known as the “shoe-bomber” after he was arrested on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes. Prosecutors said Saeed lured Pearl into a trap by promising to arrange an interview with an Islamic cleric who police believed was not involved in the conspiracy. One of Saeed's lawyers, Khwaja Naveed, said Saeed could go free unless the government chooses to challenge the court decision. Faiz Shah, prosecutor general for southern Sindh province, said the government will appeal to the Supreme Court of P