Archive for category International

ISIS Women and Enforcers in Syria Recount Collaboration, Anguish and Escape

New York Times
Nov 21, 2015

SOUTHERN TURKEY — Dua had only been working for two months with the Khansaa Brigade, the all-female morality police of the Islamic State, when her friends were brought to the station to be whipped.

The police had hauled in two women she had known since childhood, a mother and her teenage daughter, both distraught. Their abayas, flowing black robes, had been deemed too form-fitting.

When the mother saw Dua, she rushed over and begged her to intercede. The room felt stuffy as Dua weighed what to do.

“Their abayas really were very tight. I told her it was their own fault; they had come out wearing the wrong thing,” she said. “They were unhappy with that.”

Dua sat back down and watched as the other officers took the women into a back room to be whipped. When they removed their face-concealing niqabs, her friends were also found to be wearing makeup. It was 20 lashes for the abaya offense, five for the makeup, and another five for not being meek enough when detained.

The three Syrian women interviewed for this article, all former members of the Islamic State morality police who escaped to Turkey this year, met with a reporter in a southern Turkish city for hours of interviews, together and separately, over the course of two multiday visits. Read the rest of this entry »

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Enough is enough, stop playing politics to make a mountain out of a molehill over Nurul’s unplanned meeting in the Philippines as if the country does not have weighty matters on hand

Enough is enough, stop playing politics to make a mountain out of a molehill over PRK Vice President and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar’s recent visit to the Philippines and unplanned meeting with Jacel Kiram, as if the country does not have weighty problems on hand.

If Nurul has traitorous intent, she would have ensured that there would be no photographic evidence of her meeting with Jacel, let alone allowing the photograph to be to be uploaded on FaceBook for the whole world to know.

This bolstered Nurul’s statement of innocence, her expression of regret over her photograph with Sulu “princess” Jacel Kiram and reiteration of her sympathies and support for the fallen heroes from the army, military and the public who perished as a result of the Lahad Datuk intrusion in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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France’s anti-Isis coalition: where the key countries stand

Simon Tisdall
Monday 23 November 2015

France is pulling out all the stops as François Hollande scrambles to fulfil his ambitious pledge to build a global military coalition to defeat Islamic State following the Paris attacks.

The French president has won public approval and international backing for his handling of the crisis so far. His poll ratings are up by eight points to 33%. Foreign leaders have lined up to express solidarity.

In a flurry of hastily arranged mini-summits this week, Hollande will seek to turn expressions of support into concerted, sharp-end action before the rare moment of unity passes.

His prospects for success are mixed. The leaders of the US, Russia, Germany and Britain – whom Hollande will meet separately over four days – agree unreservedly about the necessity of eradicating Isis. All want a peace deal to end the Syrian civil war. But there is less agreement on how to do this. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paris Attacks Suspect Killed in Shootout Had Plotted Terror for 11 Months

New York Times
NOV. 19, 2015

VERVIERS, Belgium — Black smudges and faded traces of gunfire on a red brick rowhouse here in eastern Belgium mark the death foretold of Abdelhamid Abaaoud. It is the spot where, 11 months before the announcement on Thursday that he had been killed outside Paris, he began plotting an elaborate campaign of terror across Europe.

Mr. Abaaoud’s inaugural terror mission here ended in disaster for his cause and cost the lives of two of his jihadist friends — both from his old Brussels neighborhood, Molenbeek — when Belgian security forces stormed their hide-out on Jan. 15.

But Mr. Abaaoud was not there. A telephone call he made shortly before the raid in Verviers to pass on instructions to those in the hide-out, a senior Belgian counterterrorism official said, was the last trace anybody had of him until the French police found on Wednesday what turned out to be his mutilated body after an early-morning shootout just north of Paris. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Latest: Belt Found Where Fugitive’s Phone Was Located

New York Times/Associated Press
NOV. 23, 2015, 2:46 P.M. E.S.T.

PARIS — The latest on the deadly attacks in Paris and the heightened security in Europe (All times local):

8:40 p.m.

French police say that an explosive belt without a detonator that was found in Paris was in the same place that fugitive Saleh Abdeslam’s cell phone was localized on the day of the attacks that killed 130 people.

The belt was found Monday by a street cleaner in a pile of rubble in the southern suburb of Montrouge.

The three police officials who gave information about the belt could not be named because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.

— By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny and Lori Hinnant. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hotel Attack in Mali Is a Setback in Fight Against Extremism

New York Times
NOV. 21, 2015

BAMAKO, Mali — The terrorists chose carefully: There are nearly always French, Russian and even a few American visitors to be found in the hotel restaurant, around the pool, in the health club or on the thin black-leather sofas of the glass-fronted lobby, now shattered by gunfire.

With its marble floors, open atrium and lipstick-red lounge, the Radisson Blu Hotel served as a lifeline to the world, a gathering place where diplomats, contractors and others doing business in Mali, one of the poorest countries on earth, could all be found.

Now, bullet holes pockmark the walls and blood is pooled on stairs. The hotel, once a symbol of the international presence in a country trying to emerge from years of upheaval, is the site of a massacre in which terrorists killed 19 people, storming in at breakfast on Friday as terrified diners sprinted into an elevator whose doors did not close in time to save them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

by Kamel Daoud
New York Times
NOV. 20, 2015

Black Daesh, white Daesh.

The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims.

The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things.

The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia.

In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other.

This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on. Read the rest of this entry »

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Brussels is put on high alert as officials warn of ‘imminent threat’

By Anthony Faiola, William Booth and Emily Badger
Washington Post
November 21 2015

PARIS — The government abruptly shut down the metro system in Brussels, canceled sporting events and warned shoppers to stay away from malls as Belgium placed the capital on maximum alert early Saturday, citing a “serious and imminent” threat of attack.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said Saturday morning that officials had identified shopping centers, public transportation and major events as targets of a possible attack, involving multiple assailants, similar to the deadly assault that struck Paris last Friday.

In Brussels, armed troops stood guard in front of hotels and at major intersections. There was a scattering of shop closures. At least four of the Islamic State militants who attacked Paris came from the same immigrant neighborhood of Molenbeek in the Belgium capital.

Police continue to hunt for one of the Parisian attackers, Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French national who lived in Brussels and may have returned after the attacks.

The new threat alert in Brussels comes after European countries agreed Friday to new steps aimed at securing Europe’s frontiers, as further evidence emerged that extremists in the terrorist attacks in Paris were using the region’s porous borders to slip between the continent and the battlefields of the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »

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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Paris Attackers

Tessa Berenson
19th November 2015

Of the nine people believed to have been involved in Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, eight are now dead. Here is what you need to know about all of the suspects, including the one still at large, Salah Abdeslam.

Still at large

Abdeslam, 26, is the brother of one of the suicide bombers in the Paris attacks. He was last spotted Saturday, when police stopped him at the French-Belgian border but then let him go after questioning, the Associated Press reports.

According to the New York Times, Abdeslam is French and has been living in Belgium. He is believed to have visited Syria and committed previous crimes. Abdeslam’s other brother, who is not believed to have been involved in the attack, has urged him to turn himself in. “We’re family, we’re thinking of him, we’re wondering where he is, whether he’s scared, is he eating,” Mohamed Abdeslam told French television station BFMTV. “The best outcome would be for him to turn himself in so that judicial processes can shed light on this story.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Woman believed to be Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud’s cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen and as yet unidentified man dead after raid on St-Denis apartment

Ben Doherty
19 November 2015

French forensic teams are investigating whether the body of a man found dead after a massive firefight with police in a St-Denis apartment is that of the alleged mastermind of last week’s Paris terror attacks, Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud.

At least two people died in the assault targeting Abu Oud but neither the 27-year-old Belgian extremist nor another fugitive sought in connection with Friday’s shootings and suicide bombings, Salah Abdeslam, were among the eight people arrested.

One of the dead was a woman, believed to be Abu Oud’s cousin, Hasna Aitboulahcen, who blew herself up with an explosive vest, and the second an as yet unidentified man killed by police sniper fire or a grenade whose body was recovered in rubble from the flat in a rundown house in the rue du Corbillon.

Media reports quoting sources have suggested Abu Oud was killed in the assault but French officials have so far said in public statements that they do not know. Identification was proving difficult because the bodies had to be pieced together, Paris prosecutor François Molins said, and may take “longer than expected”. Read the rest of this entry »

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After Paris Attacks, a Darker Mood Toward Islam Emerges in France

New York Times
NOV. 16, 2015

PARIS — November is not January. That thought has been filtering through the statements of most French politicians and the news media, and most people seem to understand.

Unlike the response in January after attacks at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and elsewhere left 17 dead, there were no grand public appeals for solidarity with Muslims after the Friday attacks that left 129 dead in Paris. There were no marches, few pleas not to confuse practitioners of Islam with those who preach jihad.

Instead, there was a palpable fear, even anger, as President François Hollande asked Parliament to extend a state of emergency and called for changing the Constitution to deal with terrorism. It was largely unspoken but nevertheless clear: Secular France always had a complicated relationship with its Muslim community, but now it was tipping toward outright distrust, even hostility. Read the rest of this entry »

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Raqqa activists reveal details of French airstrikes on Syria

Kareem Shaheen in Beirut
Monday 16 November 2015

French warplanes have launched 30 airstrikes on more than a dozen Islamic State targets in Raqqa, activists in the Syrian city have said.

The raids were France’s first retaliation to Friday’s coordinated attacks in Paris claimed by Isis, in which at least 129 people were killed.

Residents said the targets bombed in the de facto capital of the militants’ self-proclaimed caliphate included the local Isis political office, the southern entrance to the city and a military camp.

“The French airstrikes were precise and targeted Daesh positions,” said one activist, using an Arabic acronym for Isis. “They hit Isis headquarters and camps that have ammunition warehouses as well as vehicles and [Isis] members.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Abdelhamid Abaaoud named as alleged mastermind of Paris terror attacks

Jon Henley in Paris
16 November 2015

French intelligence officials have named the alleged mastermind of a deadly string of suicide bombings and shootings in Paris as the Belgian extremist Abdelhamid Abaaoud, after French police made more than 20 arrests and seized arms and ammunition in a series of anti-terror raids across the country.

A major raid was also underway in Brussels aimed at arresting Salah Abdeslam, one of the three French brothers living in Belgium alleged to have been involved in the attacks.

As details emerged of an elaborate international terror operation run from Syria and carried out by a sleeper cell based in Belgium, officials told French media Abaaoud, seen as one of Islamic State’s most active operatives, was “investigators’ best bet” as the main organiser of the attacks, which killed at least 129 people on Friday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Parliament should speak in one voice tomorrow on behalf of 30 million Malaysians to condemn the senseless mass massacre by IS suicide bombers in Paris on Friday night

The Malaysian Parliament should set a world example and speak in one voice tomorrow on behalf of 30 million Malaysians to condemn the senseless massacre in a series of co-ordinated attacks by Islamic State (IS) suicide bombers and gunmen in Paris that left at least 129 people dead and 352 injured.

As Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is already in Turkey for the Group of 20 (G20) Summit, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi should move an emergency motion tomorrow immediately after Question Time, and he can be assured of full support by Pakatan Harapan Members of Parliament.

I do not of course speak on behalf of the PAS Members of Parliament.

However, I think on this issue of the condemnation of the Paris massacre, Members of Parliament, regardless of party, race, religion, gender, age or region, should unite to unanimously adopt an emergency motion in Parliament not only to condemn the killing of innocent lives in Paris on Friday night but also to urge on Parliaments and legislatures in all nations of the world to similarly condemn such dastardly and uncivilized savagery as unmitigated crimes against humanity which cannot be mitigated by any ground or reason. Read the rest of this entry »

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Terror in Paris

Editorial Board
New York Times
Nov 14, 2015

On Saturday morning, after an evening of incomprehensible barbarism against a free and civilized society by armed terrorists, President François Hollande of France declared the attacks an act of war. More than 125 people were slaughtered in multiple venues in Paris — in a concert hall, at several restaurants, near a sports stadium, on the street. Mr. Hollande declared a nationwide state of emergency, imposed checks at all of France’s borders, and called in the army to protect the city.

The Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility, and vowed that this was “only the beginning of the storm” to punish France for its airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

This attack, Mr. Hollande said, was “against France, against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are: a free country that means something to the entire planet.” He vowed that France would respond, using “all the necessary means, and on all terrains, inside and outside, in coordination with our allies, who are, themselves, targeted by this terrorist threat.” Read the rest of this entry »

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To Save Paris, Defeat ISIS

Roger Cohen
New York Times
Nov. 14, 2015

MILAN — The Paris slaughter claimed by the Islamic State constitutes, as President François Hollande of France declared, an “act of war.” As such, it demands of all NATO states a collective response under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. This says that, “An armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”

Alliance leaders are already debating what that response should be. Hollande has spoken to President Obama. Other NATO countries, including Germany and Canada, have expressed solidarity. Indignation and outrage, while justified, are not enough.

The only adequate measure, after the killing of at least 129 people in Paris, is military, and the only objective commensurate with the ongoing threat is the crushing of ISIS and the elimination of its stronghold in Syria and Iraq. The barbaric terrorists exalting on social media at the blood they have spilled cannot be allowed any longer to control territory on which they are able to organize, finance, direct and plan their savagery. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paris terror attacks were plotted by a small extremist cell in Brussels, investigators suspect

Richard A. Serrano, Henry Chu and Joe Mozingo
Los Angeles Times
November 14, 2015

Friday night’s terror attacks in Paris apparently began with a small extremist cell in Brussels, where French authorities believe the attacks were planned and the operation financed, according to two U.S. law enforcement officials who have been advised about the ongoing French probe.

The sources, speaking confidentially because the investigation is just underway, also emphasized that the attackers probably had a substantial understanding of the history and culture of France — Paris in particular — and said it was “highly possible” some had lived in the capital.

That, the sources said, was evident in how they seamlessly moved about the vast metropolis and set up coordinated attacks at six targets across the city — from a stadium to a theater to a restaurant. Read the rest of this entry »

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What We Know About the Paris Attackers

By Chas Danner
New York Times
14 November 2015

It’s now pretty clear that ISIS-linked terrorists were behind the brutal attacks which killed 129 people and injured another 352 last night in Paris, and now details about the individual attackers and their possible accomplices are beginning to emerge.

As of midday Saturday, eight men are known to have executed the attacks, and those eight were all killed, seven by detonating their explosive suicide vests, and one after being shot by police. According to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, the attacks were conducted by three coordinated teams of assailants: one at the Stade de France, one traveling in a black Seat car which fired on multiple locations, and the third team traveling in a black Volkswagen Polo. One of the cars was registered to a French citizen who was stopped at the Belgian border with two other people. Read the rest of this entry »

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Islamic State has increasingly hit soft targets outside of ‘caliphate’ borders

By Erin Cunningham
Washington Post
November 14 2015

CAIRO – The coordinated attacks on diners and concertgoers across Paris on Friday appear to mark the Islamic State’s first major operation outside the Middle East, and to confirm the group’s adoption of global terror tactics to boost its profile and strike back at its enemies.

The group claimed credit for Friday’s attacks, which killed 129 people. President Francoise Hollande called the violence “an act of war” organized by Islamic State.

Until recently, the extremist movement was focused almost entirely on seizing territory on which to build its so-called caliphate, including in Iraq and Syria, where violent civil wars have left destabilizing security vacuums. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS

New York Times
NOV. 14, 2015

Three teams of Islamic State attackers acting in unison carried out the terrorist assault in Paris on Friday night, officials said Saturday, including one gunman who may have traveled to Europe on a Syrian passport along with the flow of migrants.

“It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France,” President François Hollande told the nation from the Élysée Palace, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish.”

As the death toll rose to 129 victims — with 352 others injured, 99 of them critically — a basic timeline of the attacks came into view. Read the rest of this entry »

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