Posts Tagged ‘terrorists’

Israel arrests Hamas agents for smuggling cash into the West Bank for terror activity, support suicide attacks

May 3, 2018

Israel’s Shin Bet security agency on Thursday announced the arrest of two Hamas activists in the West Bank on suspicion of receiving thousands of Euros of funding for the terrorist organization.

 MAY 3, 2018 12:43

 950 Hezbollah operatives, 300 Hamas members in Germany – intelligence report

 Three Hamas men from Jerusalem indicted for planning shooting attack

Bir Zeit

Palestinian students supporting Hamas stand next to mock Hamas rockets during a rally celebrating their winning of the student council election at Birzeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah April 23, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

Israel’s Shin Bet security agency on Thursday announced the arrest of two Hamas activists in the West Bank on suspicion of receiving thousands of Euros of funding for the terrorist organization.

According to a statement by the security agency, 24-year-old Hamas operative Omar Kiswani from the West Bank village of Beit Iksa was arrested in a joint undercover operation by the Shin Bet, the Israel Police and the IDF on March 7, and brought in for questioning by security authorities.

Kiswani’s arrest was caught on camera and widely shared on social networks. The video showed men in civilian clothes carrying pistols wrestling Kiswani to the ground, one kicking him as he was on the ground. The men are also seen pointing their pistols toward onlookers and shots are heard towards the end of the clip.

The Shin Bet investigation showed that Kiswani made contact with Hamas activist Yassin Rabi’a, who had been expelled to the Gaza Strip as part of the Schalit deal, as well as with Hamas operatives in Turkey in order to ask for funds to promote Hamas activity at Birzeit University.

Yassin transferred a total sum of €150,000, which had been hidden in a number of locations throughout the West Bank, to Kiswani, who collected the money along with his friend and fellow Hamas activist, 20-year-old Yahya Alawi.

The two are suspected of using the funds to promote Hamas activity. The investigation by the Shin Bet security agency found a “deep involvement of Hamas operatives in Turkey and the Gaza Strip” who were working on attempts to promote Hamas activity in the West Bank.

“This is another expression of the efforts of the Hamas headquarters in Turkey and the Gaza Strip to accelerate activity in the West Bank. They launder funds and hide them in many locations throughout the West Bank,” read the statement, adding that the exposure and arrest of the two men who studied at Birzeit University “once again points to the great importance that the Hamas headquarters attaches to student activity. Actions within the university’s walls serve as a main tool for recruiting and training Hamas operatives in the West Bank.”

In 2017, a Hamas cell, led by members located in the Gaza Strip, recruited students at Birzeit university to carry out suicide attacks.

Following Kiswani’s arrest, Birzeit Univesity released a statement saying that the arrest was a violation of international humanitarian law.

“This is not the first violent intrusion by Israeli army forces, who systematically invade the university’s campus – even though it is specifically protected under international humanitarian law,” it said.

“The kidnappers, carrying firearms in their backpacks, entered the campus during working hours and attacked the student in front of the Student Council Building, located at the center of the campus. The operatives forced and pinned the student to the ground while firing their weapons, endangering lives.”


Afghan security forces see drop in numbers as Taliban attacks take their toll

May 1, 2018

Tired of being targets of Taliban attacks, Afghan security forces are slipping away into new lines of work and their ranks are not easy to refill from the young Afghan candidates for the job…

The number of Afghan security forces decreased by nearly 11 percent in the past year, the U.S. government’s top watchdog on Afghanistan said on Tuesday, an indication of the difficulty Kabul will have in dealing with its precarious security situation.


Twin blasts in the Afghan capital Kabul killed at least 26 people on Monday, including nine journalists who had arrived to report on the first explosion and were apparently targeted by a suicide bomber.

The attacks, a week after 60 people were killed as they waited at a voter registration center in the city, underlined mounting insecurity despite repeated government pledges to tighten defenses.

Afghanistan Selbsmordanschlag Kabul (Reuters/O. Sobhani)

The start of the twin bombing in Kabul on Monday, April 30, 2018. Reuters photo

The attacks in rapid succession were a grim reminder of the strength of both the Taliban and Islamic State’s emerging Afghanistan branch to wreak violence despite stepped up air attacks under U.S. President Donald Trump’s new policy for the 16-year-old war.

 In a report released on Tuesday, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, said the number of forces in the Afghan National Defense and Security forces (ANDSF), which includes the army, air force and police, totaled an estimated 296,400 personnel as of January. That was a drop of 10.6 percent compared to the same month in 2017.

The authorized strength of the ANDSF is 334,000 personnel.


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Afghan security forces arrive at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

The United States has for nearly two decades been seeking to build Afghan security forces capable of defending and holding territory.

“Building up the Afghan forces is a top priority for the U.S. and our international allies, so it is worrisome to see Afghan force strength decreasing,” John Sopko, the head of SIGAR, told Reuters.

Thousands more U.S. troops have been sent to Afghanistan to help train the army, and commanders have been given greater authority to carry out air strikes against the militants in a major reversal of the previous policy of phased withdrawal of American forces.

Publicly, U.S. officials have presented an optimistic view of the situation in Afghanistan. The top U.S. general in Afghanistan said late last year that the country had “turned the corner.”

Smoke billows at the scene of the blast. Photo: 31 May 2017

A massive car bomb has exploded in the Afghan capital Kabul, killing and injuring dozens of people, in May 2017. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Asked what his goal in Afghanistan was in the next year, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told a Congressional hearing he wanted “a more capable Afghan force, between their military and their police (and) the violence levels going down.”

On Monday, Mattis said the spate of recent attacks had been expected and the militants were “on their backfoot.”

“This is the normal stuff by people who cannot win at the ballot box, so they turn to bombs,” Mattis said.

Privately, however, U.S. officials have been more circumspect.

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that despite extensive U.S. training and support, the vast majority of Afghan forces are incapable of preventing the Taliban from retaking much of the territory the militant group lost after the United States invaded the country in 2001.

“While Afghan forces are stronger now than they were a decade ago, they continue to struggle in a big way. Ultimately, that’s a failure of U.S. policy,” said Michael Kugelman, with the Wilson Center think tank in Washington.

SIGAR added in the report that the percentage of population controlled or influenced by the Afghan government increased to 65 percent as of January 2018, up 1 percent compared to October.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; additional reporting by John Walcott, editing by G Crosse

Philippine Government Blast EU For Interfering Human Rights, War On Drugs — “What do they care how many die here? They can all go to hell.”

April 20, 2018
By:  – Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
 / 05:22 PM April 20, 2018

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JOAN BONDOC

Where are the 12,000 drug war deaths?

Malacañang hit back on Friday at the European Parliament for issuing a resolution urging the Philippines to stop its war on drugs, claiming it is marred by alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations.

The EU Parliament also called on the Philippines to release Sen. Leila de Lima and give her a fair trial and remove the terrorists tag against human rights defenders in the country.

“We of course find it unfortunate that members of the European Parliament once again interfered with the affairs of the Philippine state, rehashing issues and baseless claims that have been explained adequately by the Philippine government in several official statements. ,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Image result for duterte with rifle, photo, april 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte

In this Thursday, April 19, 2018, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte jokes to photographers as he holds an Israeli-made Galil rifle which was presented to him by outgoing Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, at the turnover-of-command ceremony at Camp Crame in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. Duterte told the crowd he will not stop his so-called war on drugs until his last day in office. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

Source: AP

In their latest resolution, the EU Parliament also noted the death of 12,000 individuals in President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.

Roque reiterated that the Duterte administration does not engage in extrajudicial killings .

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“Ang sabi po nila, 12,000 na raw po ang namatay. Nasaan po iyong mga bangkay, at nasaan po iyong mga demanda ng mga 12,000 victims?  Roque asked.

“Kakaunti lang po ang alam naming mga demanda tungkol dito sa mga patayan na ito, and we of course challenge them – saan po iyong mga datos, saan ang ebidensiya na 12,000 ang namatay na?” he added.

Roque reiterated that the government does not tolerate impunity.

“Impunity does not have a place in our society and we continue to follow due process and hold officers accountable for their actions,” he said.

“Hindi po natin kinukusinti ang mga patayan. Ang ating mga institusyon ay gumagalaw po para bigyan ng implementasyon ang ating batas laban sa patayan (We do not tolerate these deaths. Our institutions are working to implement the laws against killings),” he added.

The war on drugs under the Duterte administration has received international condemnation from rights groups for alleged human rights abuses by police authorities.

De Lima arrest legal

Roque also slammed the EU Parliament, saying the arrest and detention of de Lima followed strict legal procedures.

“The arrest and detention of Senator Leila De Lima on illegal drug charges which follows strict legal procedures has even been declared legal with finality by the Supreme Court of the Philippines,” he said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked the plea for reconsideration of De Lima to nullify the arrest warrant against her issued by Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Juanita Guerrero.

“Ngayong linggo lang po ito, Korte Suprema na ang nagbasura noong Motion for Reconsideration ni Leila De Lima na kinukuwestiyon iyong legalidad ng information laban sa kaniya. Ano pong gagawin natin? Korte Suprema na nagsabi, dalawang beses; hindi lang isang beses na legal ‘yan,” Roque said.

The Palace official said the judicial system in the Philippines is working.

“Gumagana po ang hudikatura dito sa Pilipinas, hindi po naimpluwensiyahan ng mga pulitiko ang mga lower courts at ang Korte Supreme dito sa Pilipinas dahil ngayon po, menorya pa lang ang naa-appoint na mga justices ng ating Pangulo sa Supreme Court,” he said.

He daid the executive branch does not interfere with the decision of the judiciary.

Terrorist tag

Roque said human rights defenders tagged as terrorist by the government were being given due process and the right to be heard.

“United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is included in the list of terrorist because of intelligence information. Ms. Corpuz can submit controverting evidence linking her with the terrorist group, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army,” he said.

He said Corpuz was not yet a terrorist as her case was still in court.

“Hindi pa naman siya nababansagang terorista; kinakailangan munang magkaroon ng order sa hukuman. So binibigyan po siya ng due process, bibigyan po siya ng pagkakataon na marinig. Magsumite po siya ng ebidensiya na hindi siya terorista, at pabayaan natin ang hukuman magdesisyon,” he said.

Roque said it would be the court and not foreigner lawmakers who would decide and whether Corpuz would be tagged as a terrorist.

“We thus call on the members of the European Parliament to exercise prudence in issuing resolutions,” he said.

“We understand a number of whom have close ties with the local political opposition who tried to distort realities that we have a working democracy, where people now enjoy peace and order,” he added.

In its World Report 2018, Human Rights Watch said President Rodrigo Duterte dragged the Philippines into a serious human rights crisis since the dictatorship of late Ferdinand Marcos, whom Duterte had praised in the past. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times/World Press Photo via AP, File

PH removal from UN

Roque also addressed the plan of the EU Parliament for the removal of the Philippines from the UN Human Rights Council.

“Well that’s not a decision to be made by the European parliament. That’s a decision to be made by the UN system itself. The members of the UN Human Rights Council are elected by the general assembly, that’s a call to be made by the general assembly,” he said.



Cayetano dares HRW: Show proof 12,000 were killed in PH drug war
Read more:
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 (Includes FT Op-Ed)


All this makes one wonder: does the Philippines know what it is doing with China? In the South China Sea?  Benham Rise? Is Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the ICC, and is Agnes Callamard  (Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the UN) correct in saying the Philippines is guilty of gross illegalities under international law? Is the Philippine government being run by people who don’t understand the law? Is the move for a “Federal form of Government” based upon any good thinking?


 (No man is above the law…)


The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS
One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file

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Philippine National Police chief General Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during the announcement of the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines on Jan 29, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal

According to the Philippine National Police, there have been 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017. Despite this, the authorities claim that there has only been one extrajudicial victim under the current administration. AFP/Noel Celis
Three of five Filipinos believe that only the poor are killed in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, the Social Weather Stations said in its latest survey. AFP/Noel Celis
Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal



 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)




Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)


 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Pakistan urges US to resume its balancing role in South Asia — Government discussing permanent ban on JuD, other ‘terror’ groups

April 8, 2018

Pakistan Ambassador Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary says “the United States always brought a balance.  Peace in South Asia is better served if the United States assumes the role of a balanced power-player.”

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Pakistan’s Ambassador to US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry presents his diplomatic credentials to US President Donald Trump

Dawn (Pakistan)


Updated April 08, 2018

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has asked the United States to resume the balancing role that it played in South Asia before it started to build a strategic partnership with India.

“We are saying to the US administration that the United States always brought a balance in SA, but this recent tilt has created an imbalance,” said Pakistan Ambassador Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary.

“This tilt has also emboldened the Indian government to go for a heavy-handed approach, which is the most manifest in occupied Kashmir,” said Mr Chaudhary while briefing the US and Pakistani journalists on Friday.

“The policy of Hindutva will not bode well for either India or the region but what happens in India is for them to worry about, not for us,” he said. “Peace in South Asia is better served if the United States assumes the role of a balanced power-player.”

A fact-sheet presented to the media noted that Indian forces had killed 20 innocent Kashmir in the last few days. It described the uprising in India-held Kashmir as a legitimate struggle for the realisation of their right of self-determination, not terrorism.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2018


Image result for Jamaatud Dawa, photos

Jamaat ul Dawa al Quran (JDQ), which is “based in Peshawar, Pakistan, and eastern Afghanistan” has “long-standing ties to al Qaeda and Lashkar e-Tayyiba.”

ISLAMABAD: The government is working on a draft bill to replace the presidential ordinance that banned Jamaatud Dawa as well as other organisations and individuals on the watch list of the interior ministry.

Sources in the law ministry told Dawn that the proposed draft bill to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997 was likely to be tabled in the upcoming session of the National Assembly scheduled to commence on April 9 (tomorrow). The law ministry was involved in the process for the purpose of vetting the proposed draft bill, the sources said, adding that the military establishment was also on board.

The government decided to prepare a draft bill to amend the ATA as part of its damage-control campaign after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) approved a nomination proposal tabled jointly by the US, the UK, France and Germany to place Pakistan on the international watchdog’s money-laundering and terror-financing grey list in February.

Bill being tabled in NA to replace ordinance which amended law to include entities listed by UNSC as proscribed groups

Earlier, President Mamnoon Hussain had promulgated the ordinance amending the ATA to include entities listed by the UNSC as proscribed groups. The ordinance had been issued under Article 89 of the Constitution which empowers “President to promulgate ordinances” but the ordinance expires in 120 days. The National Assembly can extend it for another four months after which it has to be tabled before both the houses i.e. National Assembly and Senate for further extension.

Through the ordinance, amendments were made to ATA’s Section 11-B that sets out parameters for proscription of groups and Section 11-EE that describes the grounds for listing of individuals. In both sections, Sub-Section ‘aa’ was added. According to the sub-section, organisations and individuals “listed under the United Nations (Security Council) Act, 1948 (XIV of 1948), or” will be included in the First Schedule (for organisations) and Fourth Schedule (for individuals), respectively, on an ex parte basis.

Under Section 11-EE, the requirements were: “(a) concerned in terrorism; (b) an activist, office-bearer or an associate of an organisation kept under observation under section 11D or proscribed under section 11B; and (c) in any way concerned or suspected to be concerned with such organisation or affiliated with any group or organisation suspected to be involved in terrorism or sectarianism or acting on behalf of, or at the direction of, any person or organisation proscribed under this Act.”

Database being prepared

In addition to the draft bill, which is likely to be tabled in the upcoming NA session, Pakistan is preparing a consolidated database of known terrorists and terrorist organisations which will be accessible to financial institutions and law-enforcement agencies of the country to strengthen the regime against money laundering and terror financing.

For the enforcement of prohibition of funds and financial services, it was recommended to the authorities to ensure that statutory regulatory orders issued under UNSC Resolutions-1267 and -1373 (issued under ATA) are implemented without delay. The government would also frame the ATA’s freezing and seizure rules and ensure that Anti-Terrorism Amendment Ordinance 2018 is enacted through the parliament, according to the draft action plan.

The amendment to the ATA would also enable investigation officers to be trained to investigate sources of funding besides other financial aspects in terrorism cases.

The presidential ordinance has already been challenged by JuD chief Hafiz Saeed in the Islamabad High Court. He claimed that the ordinance had been promulgated due to external pressure and hence was not only prejudicial to the sovereignty but also contradictory to the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

When contacted, Barrister Zafarullah Khan, special assistant to the prime minister, said that the amendment to the ATA was a subject of the interior ministry. He added the law would not introduce anything new, as it would basically ensure compliance to the UNSC Resolutions.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2018

Pakistan, U.S. Not Talking About Ending Dispute — Does This Mean pakistan Remains a Terrorist State?

April 7, 2018

Dawn, Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has not, and does not intend to, discuss the resumption of suspended security aid with the United States, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary said on Friday while briefing the US and Pakistani media.

The briefing, although intended to highlight Indian atrocities in held Kashmir, drifted to US-Pakistan ties and the Afghan dispute.

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Ambassador Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary

“From our side, we have not discussed this issue with the US administration at all,” said the envoy. “Pakistan does not want aid. It wants honour, dignity, respect and a recognition of what it has done, although we do recognise the suspension undermines our efforts to fight terrorism.”

The ambassador said that Pakistan had taken a position on this issue and now it was for the US government to take a decision. “We are quite committed to eliminating terrorism with our own resources.”

The Trump administration suspended its security aid to Pakistan in January this year, after President Donald Trump’s New Year tweet, accusing Pakistan of taking billions of dollars in aid but not doing enough to fight terrorism.

Mr Chaudhary said Pakistan also did not have any discussion with US officials on the claim that Islamabad had not done enough on the issue.

“We are talking about how to work better on Afghanistan, as both countries have a common objective, stabilise Afghanistan, not on Pakistan not doing enough,” he said.

Mr Chaudhary said that Pakistan was “very, very positively engaged” with the peace process initiated recently by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani because it believed “that’s the way to pursue”.

Image result for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, photos

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

The ambassador rejected the allegation that the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies did not have the same objective in Afghanistan as did the civilian government.

“This is totally baseless and even irresponsible,” said Mr Chaudhary, adding that in the Peshawar Army Public School attack, the militants killed the children of both military and intelligence officials.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2018


U.S.-designated ‘terrorists’ vow to run in Pakistan elections

April 4, 2018


KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – A Pakistani political party placed on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations vowed on Wednesday to continue its political activities and participate in upcoming elections.

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Saifullah Khalid, President of Milli Muslim League (MML) political party, addresses the news conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC) in Karachi, Pakistan April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

The Milli Muslim League (MML) is controlled by Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head. The group shot to prominence after fielding a candidate in a September 2017 by-election to fill a seat vacated by deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday termed MML an alias for militant organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or Army of the Pure, blamed for a bloody 2008 attack in India.

“We clearly state that on U.S. announcements we will not discontinue our political activities at any cost,” MML president Saifullah Khalid said, reading from a statement in Karachi.

“Milli Muslim League will fully participate in the 2018 elections and will field candidates from across Pakistan.”

Saeed is the founder of LeT, which is also on the U.S. terrorist list and blamed by the United States and India for a four-day militant attack on Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed.

Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the attack.

Images of Saeed appeared on MML campaign posters during rallies held in two major Pakistani cities leading up to by-elections last year.

The party was subsequently barred from participating in polls by Pakistan’s electoral commission, a decision that was overturned by the courts.

“We have confidence in our higher judiciary … MML will be registered and it will emerge as a big national party in future,” Khalid said.

Image Credit: Reuters

FILE PHOTO:Saifullah Khalid (2nd L), President of Milli Muslim League (MML) political party, holds a party flag with others during a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood/File Photo

Khalid termed the U.S. decision a violation of basic human rights and an open intervention in Pakistan’s internal affairs, asking for the State Department to bring evidence before the courts.

“Make no mistake: whatever LeT chooses to call itself, it remains a violent terrorist group. The United States supports all efforts to ensure that LeT does not have a political voice until it gives up violence as a tool of influence,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Under pressure from the United States, the United Nations and international institutions to crack down on terrorist financing, Pakistan drew up secret plans last December for a “takeover” of charities linked to Saeed.

Saeed has since taken the government decision to court.

Saeed’s freedom in Pakistan, where he holds rallies, has been a thorn in Pakistan’s relations with old rival India and the United States.

Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Writing by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Nick Macfie


UN terror list has 139 Pakistan entries

April 4, 2018



Press Trust of India, Islamabad
File photo of Lashkar-e-Taiba head Hafiz Saeed arriving at a Lahore court in November 2017.
File photo of Lashkar-e-Taiba head Hafiz Saeed arriving at a Lahore court in November 2017. (AP )

WASHINGTON: The United Nations Security Council’s consolidated list of terrorist individuals and entities includes 139 entries from Pakistan.

The list — updated and accessed on Tuesday — identifies all those individuals who have lived in Pakistan, operated from there or have been associated with groups that used Pakistani territory for carrying out their operations, from Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri to known Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) activists.

The first person on the list is Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s heir apparent. The UN data claims that he is still hiding somewhere “in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area”. Several of his lieutenants are also on the list who, the UN believes, are hiding with him.

Image result for Ayman al-Zawahiri, photos

Ayman al-Zawahiri

The second person on the list is another internationally known terrorist, Ramzi Mohammad bin al-Sheibah, who is identified as a Yemeni national, arrested in Karachi and handed over to the US authorities.

Hafiz Saeed listed as a person wanted by Interpol for involvement in terrorist activities

More than a dozen suspected terrorists are listed in the same category, arrested in Pakistan and handed over to the US authorities. Some of them had Pakistani passport, issued by various Pakistani missions in the Middle East and renewed in Pakistan.

The list also includes Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, an Indian national who, according to the UN Security Council, has held several Pakistani passports issued in Rawalpindi and Karachi. The UN claims that he owns a “palatial bungalow in the hilly area of Noorabad, Karachi”.

LeT’s Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is listed as a person also wanted by Interpol for his involvement in terrorist activities. Haji Mohammed Yahya Mujahid, LeT’s media contact, and Hafiz Saeed’s deputies, Abdul Salaam and Zafar Iqbal, are listed under him. Like Hafiz Saeed, they are all wanted by Interpol.

LeT is listed with its various aliases, such as al-Mansoorian, Paasban-i-Kashmir, Paasban-i-Ahle Hadith, Jamaatud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation.

Terrorist entities that were allegedly based in Pakistan, worked from there or had links to Pakistani individuals, include Al Rasheed Trust, Harkatul Mujahideen, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Wafa Humanitarian Organisation, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Rabita Trust, Ummah Tameer-i-Nau, Afghan Support Committee, Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Al-Harmain Foundation, Islamic Jihad Group, Al Akhtar Trust International, Harkatul Jihad Islami, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaatul Ahrar and Khatiba Imam Al-Bukhari.

Some of them are listed as based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2018

Hamas accused of playing into Israel’s hands in wake of Gaza protest

April 3, 2018

Times of Israel

Critics say the terror group has cast civil demonstrations as armed clashes by naming its members who were killed by the IDF

April 3 ,2018

Gaza's Hamas terrorist rulers released these images of members of its military wing who it acknowledged were among 16 Gazans it said were killed by Israeli fire during clashes along the security fence on Friday, March 30, 2018. (Hamas)

Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers released these images of members of its military wing who it acknowledged were among 16 Gazans it said were killed by Israeli fire during clashes along the security fence on Friday, March 30, 2018. (Hamas)

Palestinian analysts and activists on Monday criticized the Hamas terror group for claiming some of the Palestinians killed along the Israel-Gaza border in last Friday’s mass demonstrations as members of its military wing, a move the critics argued served Israel.

Hamas made a mistake in rushing to publish old photos of the dead men in military fatigues, thus creating the impression that they had been killed in “armed clashes” between Hamas fighters and the Israel Defense Forces as part of a violent terrorism campaign, the critics said.

Hamas announced shortly after Friday’s clashes that five of the Palestinians killed by IDF gunfire were members of the terror group’s military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The group published photos of the men wearing combat uniforms and armed with assault rifles.

The five, who were described by Hamas as mujaheddin (warriors), were identified as Jihad Farineh, 35, Mohammed Abu Amru, 27, Ahmed Ibrahim Odeh, 19, Sari Abu Odeh, 27, and Muss’ab Zuheir al Alsaloul, 23.

The Hamas critics also warned against the “militarization” of the “March of Return” — the name given to the protests — arguing that such a move would play into Israel’s hands and damage the Palestinian campaign. The Palestinians say that the Hamas men who killed last Friday were unarmed and were not in uniform.

One veteran Palestinian journalist in the Gaza Strip told The Times of Israel that Hamas was also facing criticism for holding military funerals and rallies for its men — a move that, he said, created the impression that the men had been killed in armed clashes with the IDF rather than during a peaceful protest by unarmed civilians.

“Many people here feel that Hamas made a mistake,” the journalist said. “Hamas’s actions have created the impression that what happened last Friday was an armed confrontation between its members and the Israeli army. Hamas has done damage to the Palestinian account that states that the demonstrations were peaceful and nonviolent.”

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The IDF on Saturday night identified 10 of the 15 people reported killed during violent protests along the Gaza security fence as members of Palestinian terrorist groups, and published a list of their names and positions in the organizations. Palestinian sources later raised the death toll to 16.

According to the IDF, eight of the men killed were members of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, one served in Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, and another was affiliated with “global jihad” — an apparent reference to one of the Salafist groups in the coastal enclave.

The army said that at least one of the Hamas members, Sari Abu Odeh, was part of the group’s elite Nukhba force and that another, Mohammad Abu Amro, served in its tunnel operations.

The IDF also identified one of two Hamas members who shot at Israeli soldiers on Friday evening and attempted to breach the security fence, before they were shot dead, as Mussa’b Alsaloul.

Fatalities from the March 30 violence on the Israel-Gaza border identified by Israel as members of terror groups. (Israel Defense Forces)

Palestinian political analyst Hassan Abdo said Hamas had made a mistake when it issued military communiques boasting of the death of its members.

“It was wrong to issue communiques with the photos of the martyrs in military uniform,” Abdo told the Palestinian Quds news agency. “These men were killed during a peaceful civilian march.”

Abdo said that Hamas’s actions made it easy for Israel to say that half of the Palestinians killed last Friday were operatives and leaders in Hamas’s military wing.

Another political analyst, Fahmi Sharab, concurred. “We need to distance ourselves from military manifestations,” he said. “Israel has succeeded in exploiting the photos of the Qassam men who participated in the marches even though they were unarmed.”

Sharab said that it was also wrong for Hamas fighters to approach the security fence because many of them were on Israel’s list of wanted terrorists.

Sharab and other Palestinians in the Gaza Strip stressed the importance of maintaining the “peaceful” nature of the “March of Return” so as not to lose the sympathy of the international community.

Other Palestinians said that Hamas’s actions after Friday’s events showed that the terror group was trying to “hijack” the “March of Return” by making it appear as if it was the sole leader of the protest.

Palestinian protesters pray during a demonstration against Israel along the Gaza Strip border east of Khan Younis, Friday, March 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Referring to Hamas’s public endorsement of its “fighters,” Tawfik Abu Khoussa, a senior Fatah operative and former chairman of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, said, “Some parties that have been trading with the blood of the martyrs and injured quickly tried to add the sacrifices of the victims to their factional balance.”

Abu Khoussa said that even if Hamas’s intentions in endorsing “armed men of the resistance” were genuine, its actions had damaged the Palestinian nonviolent and popular campaign.

By publicly endorsing the victims and glorifying them as fighters, Hamas has also helped Israel’s “propaganda machine in distorting the March of Return in the eyes of the international public opinion by denying its peaceful nature and justifying the killing of the protesters,” he added.

Abu Khoussa also criticized Hamas for holding military services and glorifying only its dead members, while ignoring the rest of the Palestinians who were killed during the Friday’s events.



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Boko Haram Attacks Again on Easter: 11 Killed — Is This The Answer to Nigeria’s Offer of Amnesty?

April 1, 2018

EASTER: 11 killed in BokoHaram attacks in Borno


No fewer than four members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, four suicide bombers and three civilians were killed in separate attacks on two villages of Malumti and Muna Zawiya village, Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State.

The incidents, according to a reliable source, took place  on  Friday  evening. In a press statement signed by  Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu,  Deputy Director, Public Relations,  Theatre Command, ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’, said, “the four insurgents who had been routed out of the Sambisa Forest by troops in Operation Deep Punch II,   were rummaging   for food and logistics when they met their Waterloo. “The gallant   troops recovered a Toyota Land Cruiser, one AK 47 Rifle, 15 Rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition and one magazine.

Image result for Boko Haram photos

Troops also recovered 47 Jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, from the insurgents.

“In another development, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed at a checkpoint ahead of Muna Zawiya in the outskirts of Maiduguri, yesterday, neutralised four suicide bombers comprising a male and three females. “The suicide bombers were attempting to infiltrate the Maiduguri Metropolis through Muna Zawiya area at about  9.30 pm  but were spotted by vigilant troops, who fired shots hitting one of them and thereby triggering a simultaneous explosion killing all the four bombers. “Regrettably, however, 18 persons were injured in the incident.

The wounded have been evacuated for medical attention.

Meanwhile, troops and members of   the Civilian Joint Task Force are presently   conducting cordon and search operation in the area for any other suicide bomber lurking around. But available information obtained from residents so far, revealed that the four blasts were said to be carried out by the suicide bombers leading to the killing of three civilians, apart from the 4 bombers. 18 others sustained various degrees of injuries as well as 5 sheep’s killed during the blasts. The injured persons are currently responding to treatment at specialist hospital Maiduguri.

Confirming the Muna Zawiya suicide attacks, though Contradictory to that of the military, Police Public Relations of Borno State Command, DSP Edet Okon, in a statement earlier said, “At about 2149hrs yesterday, 30/3/18 four (4) female suicide bombers infiltrated Muna Zawiya village in Mafa LGA outskirt of Maiduguri Metropolis. “They detonated the explosives killing themselves and one other person (female). Thirteen   (13) persons were injured and were taken to a hospital where they are responding to treatment.

“The Borno state police command had dispatched men to the scene including men of the CTU,   SARS and EOD to sweep the place and make the environment   safe. Normalcy has returned to the area. Meanwhile, adequate security arrangements has being emplaced for a hitch free Easter celebration. Patrol   and Monitoring Continues.” said Okon. end

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Israel threatens to escalate response if Gaza violence continues

March 31, 2018

AFP and France 24

© Jack Guez, AFP | Israeli soldiers take aim as they lie prone over an earth barrier along the border with the Gaza strip in the southern Israeli kibbutz of Nahal Oz on March 30, 2018, as Palestinians demonstrate on the other side commemorating Land Day.

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2018-03-31

Israel will target “terror organisations” in Gaza if violence along the territory’s border with Israel drags on, the chief military spokesman warned Saturday, a day after thousands of Palestinians staged protests near the border fence.

The mass marches were led by Gaza’s ruling Hamas group and touted as the launch of a six-week-long protest campaign. Palestinian health officials said 15 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire and more than 750 hit by live rounds, making it the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 cross-border war between Israel and Hamas.

In Friday’s confrontations, large crowds gathered near the border fence, with smaller groups of protesters rushing forward, throwing stones and burning tires.

Israeli troops responded with live fire and rubber-coated steel pellets, while drones dropped tear gas from above. The army released video showing soldiers with rifles perched on high earthen embankments overlooking the scene.

Palestinians accused Israel of using disproportionate force, while human rights groups questioned Israel’s use of live fire.

UN chief Antonio Guterres called for an “independent and transparent investigation”.

Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the chief army spokesman, denied allegations of excessive use of force, saying those killed by Israeli troops were men between the ages of 18 and 30 who were involved in violence and belonged to militant factions.

He alleged Gaza health officials exaggerated the number of those wounded, and that several dozen at most were injured by live fire while the rest were merely shaken up by tear gas and other riot dispersal means.

Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital received 284 injured people Friday, the majority with bullet injuries, said spokesman Ayman Sahbani. He said 70 were under the age of 18 and 11 were women.

He said 40 surgeries were performed Friday and that 50 were planned Saturday. “These are all from live bullets that broke limbs or caused deep, open wounds with damage to nerves and veins,” he said.

Among those recovering from surgery was 16-year-old Marwan Yassin who had thrown stones with a slingshot at the fence Friday and was shot in both legs. One of his legs was wrapped in bandages and the other had a cast and metal fixtures.

His mother said at his bedside that she would ban him from future protests.

On Saturday, a few hundred people gathered at five tent encampments that have been set up several hundred metres from the border fence. The tents serve as the launch points for marches.

Protest organisers have said mass marches would continue until May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation. Palestinians mark that date as their “nakba,” or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were uprooted during the 1948 war over Israel’s creation. The vast majority of Gaza’s 2 million people are descendants of Palestinians who fled or were driven from homes in what is now Israel.

Manelis reiterated Saturday that Israel “will not allow a massive breach of the fence into Israeli territory”.

He said that Hamas and other Gaza militant groups are using protests as a cover for staging attacks. If violence continues, “we will not be able to continue limiting our activity to the fence area and will act against these terror organisations in other places too,” he said.

The border protests were seen as a new attempt by Hamas to break the border blockade, imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Islamic militant group seized Gaza from forces loyal to its rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in 2007. The continued closure has made it increasingly difficult for Hamas to govern.

The large turnout of marchers in the dangerous border zone also seemed to signal desperation among Gaza residents. Life in the coastal strip has deteriorated further in recent months, with rising unemployment, grinding poverty and daily blackouts that last for hours.

The protest campaign is also meant to spotlight Palestinian demands for a “right of return” to what is now Israel.

The prospect of more protests and Palestinian casualties in coming weeks could also place Israel on the defensive.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation, while Security Council members urged restraint on both sides. The council didn’t decide on any action or joint message after an emergency meeting Friday evening.

Abbas, the West Bank-based leader, renewed a call for international protection of Palestinians.

In the West Bank, shopkeepers observed a commercial strike called by political activists Saturday to protest Israel’s response to the Gaza marches.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)