Daily Archives: June 4, 2017

Pakistani Troops Raid Suspected IS Base in Baluchistan

ISLAMABAD � Officials in Pakistan say counterterrorism forces have destroyed a major suspected Islamic State stronghold in the country’s southwest, killing 12 hardcore terrorists.

A military statement Sunday said the intelligence-led raid targeted the militant hideout in the hilly Mastung district in Baluchistan province and the ensuing gunfight that lasted for two days also injured five security forces, including two officers.

Terrorists were hiding inside a cave for planning, coordination and execution of terrorist activities in Baluchistan. It added that the successful operation foiled attempts to undertake terrorist activities in the province, particularly in its capital city of Quetta.

Mostly members of a banned Sunni militant organization, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or LeJ, were occupying the base, a provincial government official told VOA. He requested anonymity because the military alone is authorized to publicly share details of such security operations.

Pakistani authorities believe LeJ operatives have aligned themselves with the Syrian-based terrorist group to help it establish a foothold in the country.

It was one of the biggest operations in last many years in a single [Pakistani] district, killing hardcore mid-level and senior leadership of the terrorist outfit, the official explained. He added that the militants were somehow related to all major terrorist attacks that have struck Baluchistan recently, he added.

IS has claimed responsibly for major suicide bombings in recent months that killed scores of people in the province and elsewhere in Pakistan. The latest such attack took place near Quetta last month when an IS suicide bomber killed 25 people and wounded dozens of others.

Local media said that the counterterrorism operation in Mastung was launched after intelligence reports suggested two Chinese nationals kidnapped from Quetta last week were being held in the area, though officials declined to comment on the reports.

The abductees, a man and a woman, were Chinese-language instructors based in the provincial capital.

Pakistan officials maintain that IS does not have an organized presence in the country, but acknowledge the group’s recruiters have been approaching people, particularly university and students through social media.

Baluchistan is at the center of a massive mega project of constructing road and rail links, as well as power plants, in Pakistan with Chinese financial assistance of more than $50 billion.

The largest Pakistani province is rich with minerals and other natural resources, but it is also allegedly host to a number of militant groups, including members of the Afghan Taliban. Additionally, ethnic Baluch separatists have also been waging a low-level insurgency in Baluchistan for decades.

Brahumdagh Bugit, one of the key insurgent leaders living in exile abroad, dismissed Sunday’s official claims security forces targeted religious extremists in his native province. Pakistan Army is attacking civilians in Mastung & Kalat with gunship helicopters for past several days. Celebrating [the holy Islamic month of] Ramadan by killing Baloch, Bugti alleged in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

Source: Voice of America

Morocco is among most peaceful countries in Arab world

Rabat (IINA) � Morocco is one of the most peaceful countries in the Arab world, according to the Global Peace Index 2017, recently published by the international think tank Economics & Peace.

Ranked 75th on a total of 163 countries with a 2.004 score, Morocco has gained 15 places since 2016 and currently occupies the sixth position in the MENA region.

The GPI ranks Tunisia and Algeria respectively 69th and 109th, with an average level of peace, Morocco World News reported.

In the MENA region, Qatar comes in the first position with the 30th place in the world level, followed by Kuwait (58th), United Arab Emirates (65th), Tunisia, Oman (70th) and Morocco. Algeria is in the 8th position, while Syria ranks last worldwide.

Morocco continues to benefit from a broader degree of political and social stability than most of its neighbors in North Africa, and recorded the highest improvement, driven by lower levels of militarization, said the think tank.

The report also ranks Morocco fourth amid the five countries showing significant improvements in the militarization domain, with a 0.192 score change, pitching the Kingdom 27 places ahead compared to 2016.

According to the report, the greatest regional deterioration of this index occurred in North America, followed by sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa (MENA).

Source: International Islamic News Agency

Afghan Intelligence Arrests ‘Would-Be Suicide Bomber’ As Kabul Protest Continues

Afghanistan’s intelligence agency says it has arrested a would-be suicide bomber who planned to detonate his explosives at the funeral of an antigovernment protester in Kabul.

At least seven people were killed on June 3 when three suicide bombers blew themselves up at the funeral of Salem Izadyar, the son of a senator and one of the five victims of the deadly clashes between police and protesters a day earlier.

Deadly antigovernment protests erupted after the May 31 morning rush-hour bombing in Kabul that killed at least 90 people and wounded more than 460, most of them civilians.

Police have locked down much of Kabul city, with armed checkpoints and armored vehicles patrolling the streets, although several dozen protesters on June 4 continued a peaceful sit-in near the blast site.

The demonstrators have called for the resignation of the national unity government, which has failed to curb deadly militant attacks in the capital.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country’s main intelligence agency, said in a statement on June 4 that it had arrested a fourth suicide bomber who failed to detonate his explosives at the funeral in Kabul.

The NDS published a photo of Sayed Rahman, the failed suicide bomber, on their Facebook page.

The intelligence agency said the suicide bombers had all hidden explosives in their shoes and had been trained at the Mawlawi Ahmad madrasah, or religious school, in the southwest Pakistani city of Quetta.

The NDS has also blamed the Kabul bombing on May 31, the deadliest in the city since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, on the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, which is allied to the Afghan Taliban.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the two deadly attacks in Kabul, with the Taliban denying any involvement.

The attacks were the latest in a long series of high-profile militant attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan since most international forces left the country in 2014.

In the first three months of the year at least 715 civilians were killed across the country, after almost 3,500 last year — the deadliest on record for Afghan civilians.

The uptick in violence comes as U.S. and coalition officials are working on plans that are expected to bring about an increase of between 3,000 and 5,000 in the number of foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

CAIR- Minnesota seeks probe into school officials’ mistreatment of Muslim student

Minnesota (IINA) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) called for an investigation into the alleged use of excessive force by a security officer and resource officer at a high school in the state.

On Thursday, a female Muslim student at Apple Valley High School in Apple Valley, Minnesota, was reportedly verbally harassed by a male student and called a ‘ terrorist. The school security guard, who was first on the scene, allegedly used physical force against the Muslim student. The school’s police officer later arrested the Muslim student.

In the process of her detention, the student’s hijab was removed. She was taken to the Apple Valley Police Department, questioned and released.

On Friday, school officials met with the family of the student and informed them that she is suspended until the end of the school year.

CAIR-MN reports that it has received complaints from a dozen Muslim students at Apple Valley High School who feel unsafe due to this and other unreported incidents involving the same officer.

“We are concerned about the apparent use of excessive force in this incident and about the suspension of the Muslim student, who appears to have been a victim of bullying,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein. “We are also concerned about the growing number of Muslim students who report feeling unsafe because of how this incident was handled by the school officers.

Hussein added that CAIR-MN has reached out to the school principal and are in talks about the incident.

A study by CAIR’s California office reported that 55 percent of American Muslim students attending California public schools experience some form of bullying based on their religious identity. That is twice as high as the national statistic for students who report being bullied at school.

The study also indicated that 20 percent of Muslim students say they have experienced discrimination by school staff.

CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Source: International Islamic News Agency