June 26, 2017 at 10:09 am

Iraq says ISIL suicide bombers blocked in Mosul

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Iraq’s armed forces have blocked a major wave of attacks by suicide bombers from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) outside the Old City of Mosul, according to the Iraqi military.

Sunday’s attacks targeted Hay al-Tanak, a poor neighbourhood west of the Old City, the last stronghold of the fighters in Mosul.

It is the first wave of attacks reported outside the Old City since the battle to capture the historic district from ISIL started a week ago.

It came just days after a suicide bomber killed at least three people while attacking a shopping district in east Mosul that was retaken from the ISIL group a few months ago, according to Iraqi medical and security officials.

The attack struck the area’s Muthanna neighbourhood late on Friday as residents shopped in advance of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

A second bomber managed to enter a shopping arcade and blew himself up among civilians, killing at least two and wounding nine, according to the same officer and a medic at Al-Khansaa hospital. A third suicide bomber was killed by police before he could detonate his vest, the sources said.

It was among the bloodiest attacks since Iraqi forces retook the eastern side of Mosul in January as part of a massive offensive to wrest back the country’s second city from ISIL.

There had been growing calls in east Mosul before Friday night’s attack for the families of ISIL members to be, among other measures, banished for 10 years.

OPINION: Iraq must invest in education to secure its future

On Thursday, Iraq’s prime minister said the “liberation” of the city of Mosul from ISIL would be announced in a few days.

“It’s a matter of a few days and we will announce the total liberation of Mosul,” Haider al-Abadi was quoted by Baghdad-based Sumaria TV as saying.

The announcement came as Iraqi forces were continuing the battle against ISIL fighters in their last stronghold in western Mosul, the city’s old town – a densely populated quarter with narrow, winding alleys.

Up to 150,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in there, where conditions have been described by the UN as desperate. 

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/iraq-isil-suicide-bombers-blocked-mosul-170626082142053.html

at 10:09 am

Some Saudi-led bloc’s ‘demands very difficult to meet’

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The US secretary of state has said some demands on Qatar by a group of Arab countries that have imposed a blockade against it “will be very difficult to meet”. 

Nevertheless, in a statement issued on Sunday, Rex Tillerson said the list submitted by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt includes “significant areas which provide a basis for ongoing dialogue leading to a resolution”.

“A productive next step would be for each of the countries to sit together and continue this conversation,” said Tillerson, confirming that Qatar has begun the review of the demands issued by the Saudi-led bloc of countries amid the worst crisis in the Gulf in decades.

“We believe our allies and partners are stronger when they are working together towards one goal which we all agree is stopping terrorism and countering extremism.”

He also called for a “lowering of rhetoric” to “help ease the tension” and said Washington is supporting a mediation effort by Kuwait aimed at defusing the crisis after the four Arab states cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5.

10-day ultimatum

The Saudi-led bloc of countries has reportedly given Qatar 10 days to comply with 13 demands to end the crisis, insisting, among others, that Qatar shut down Al Jazeera, close a Turkish military base and scale down ties with Iran.

Qatari officials immediately dismissed the demands as neither reasonable or actionable.

“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the Qatari government’s communications office, said in a statement on Friday.

OPINION: The GCC crisis – Draconian demands and juvenile politics

Qatar also said it is reviewing the demands and is preparing an official response after confirming the receipt of the document on Thursday.

Tillerson had previously insisted any demands be “reasonable and actionable”, while his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, said any requests made of Qatar should be “measured and realistic”.

Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from Washington, DC, said Tillerson’s statement on Sunday was the first formal response from the state department since the release of the 13 demands.  

Commenting on Tillerson’s remarks that some of the demands “will be very difficult for Qatar to meet”, he said: “It is an acknowledgement from the secretary of state that some of these demands are clearly not reasonable or actionable – and I think that will be an important marker coming from the US.

READ MORE: Ultimatum on Qatar is ‘violation of human rights’

“If you look at the words of Secretary Tillerson, you have to slightly read between the lines, because he has been very careful – all of the countries involved are all close US allies.”

Earlier on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Qatar’s stand on the list of demands, saying that the Saudi-led ultimatum is “against international law”.

Source: Al Jazeera News

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/tillerson-demands-qatar-difficult-meet-170625153820070.html

at 10:09 am

Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr 2017

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Millions of Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan.

During the month of Ramadan, practising Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. 

The timing of Eid al-Fitr, or “the festival of breaking the fast”, can be tricky, as it is based on the sighting of the new moon, and it often varies from country to country.

The holiday is usually celebrated for three days, although it can vary depending on the country.

Celebrations begin with a special early morning prayer in mosques and open-air areas and later move on to feasts and festivals. 

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2017/06/muslims-world-celebrate-eid-al-fitr-2017-170625114208824.html

June 25, 2017 at 10:03 pm

‘We are more united’: Qataris mark Eid amid blockade

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Qataris observed the end of Ramadan on a sombre but resolute note, as a blockade imposed on the country by neighbouring Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies is about to enter its fourth week.

On the first day of Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, some citizens of Qatar expressed sadness that they are unable to celebrate Islam’s most important holiday with family members and friends, who are citizens of other countries involved in the dispute.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, alongside the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt triggered a major diplomatic crisis after cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar and cutting off land, air and sea links.

The Al Merri tribe is one of the biggest in the Gulf with family members spread throughout the region, and the crisis is keeping them apart.

READ MORE: Saudi-led blockade on Qatar ‘breaking up families’

“There are a lot of families …, a lot of people who have suffered from this blockade,” Qatari citizen Ali Al Merri told Al Jazeera.

While Gulf leaders continue their political fight, the people suffer, Al Merri added. 

Politicians must keep this between the governments and not involve the citizens.” 

Wafaa is a Qatari who divorced her Bahraini husband years ago. Her three children have Bahraini passports and technically have to return to Bahrain, which – alongside Saudi Arabia and the UAE – ordered its citizens to leave Qatar. 

Wafaa’s children decided to defy that order – opting to stay in Qatar instead. They are now waiting to hear if they can get Qatari citizenship.

“Our loyalty is to here,” Wafaa told Al Jazeera. “They [children] have never been to Bahrain. What we know about Bahrain is only the passport. They grew up here, and will continue to be here.”

‘We have become stronger’

Khaled Al Hajiri, another Qatari citizen, said the decision by Saudi Arabia and its allies came as a “shock” to him and his family.

“For me personally, it is breaking my heart that I cannot see my cousins in Abu Dhabi. Most of my friends also have relatives there,” he told Al Jazeera.

“For us, the GCC is not a different country, it is united,” he said, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council, which numbers Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman as its members.

“But now politics make it different.”

He said the he is still unsure how and when the dispute will end.

“This is new to us. We didn’t expect the GCC to have these issues,” he added.   

“As a Qatari, I think we have become stronger and more united because of this issue. I hope it will be resolved in a short time.”

But for Abdullah al-Otaibi, a Kuwaiti citizen, the dispute will eventually be resolved “the Arab way”.

He said he came to Qatar to show that “all the Gulf states are one people”.

The emir of Kuwait is mediating between Qatar and the Saudi-Emirati-led bloc to resolve the crisis. But so far, there are no signs of the tensions cooling off. 

“We have nothing to be dividing us. We are going to be together, before and after,” Otaibi said. 

“This is the government’s issue. They have to do their job. Our job [as citizens] is to be together.”

“Nobody expected this to happen at all. Everybody is thinking that it is representing the people. But Arabs usually solve their problems the Arab way. Fight today, kiss each other the next day.”

Source: Al Jazeera News

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/sombre-eid-al-fitr-qatar-gulf-blockade-continues-170625182622824.html

at 10:03 pm

Albania’s Socialists set to win election: exit poll

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Albania’s ruling Socialist Party look set to win Sunday’s parliamentary election with between 45 and 49 percent of votes, an exit poll by Italy’s IPR Marketing showed, which could secure them a majority of the seats in parliament.

The opposition Democratic Party is projected to win up to 34 percent of the vote.

“The Socialist Party might have won more than 71 seats (in the 140-seat parliament), but this is still an opinion not a certainty,” IPR Marketing’s Antonio Noto said.

The two biggest parties are seeking a majority in a parliamentary election that follows a landmark agreement between the country’s two biggest political parties to back efforts to secure European Union membership.

The race pits socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama against Lulzim Basha of the centre-right Democratic Party.

Neither party won an outright majority in the 140-seat parliament in the 2013 or 2009 elections.

Voters of all ages were seen lining up early when polling stations opened in the capital, Tirana, starting at 05:00 GMT. Turnout as of 12:00 GMT was 27.28 percent.

As of 1700 GMT, Al Jazeera has learned that voting has been extended for another hour because of the low turnout. 

READ MORE: Albania – The dark shadow of tradition

Before polls opened, thousands of Muslims, who make up 60 percent of the population, recited prayers in the newly-built pedestrian square in central Tirana to mark the end of Ramadan.

Since communism collapsed in the early 1990s, Albanian elections have been marred by fraud, violence, disputed results and bitter rivalries bordering on hatred.

Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos, reporting from Tirana, said voters are eager to see an election free of fraud.

There are an estimated 3,000 independent election monitors deployed across the country of 2.9 million people to make sure the votes are properly counted, our correspondent said. 

“That goes a long way towards reassuring Albanians that they are having a free and fair election,” he said.

Luan Rama, of the Socialist Party for Motivation, the third main political party, said one member was injured following a quarrel and a shooting incident outside a polling station in Shengjin, 60km northwest of Tirana.

Police investigating the incident said they found a cartridge but no injured person was taken to the hospital. They said it did not disrupt the voting.

Earlier on Sunday, the interior ministry also reported hundreds of attempts to buy votes, a crime that may result in a jail term.


Prime Minister Rama, pictured with his wife Linda, is seeking a second term and outright majority for his party [AP]

Economic reforms

Holding a free and fair election is key to launching European Union membership talks for the nation of 2.9 million, which is already a NATO member.

After earning EU candidate status in 2014, Tirana has struggled to pass important reforms vital for its bid to advance to EU – namely deeply reforming its corrupted justice system.

“I came to vote for Edi Rama because I see his hand in every corner of the country,” a supporter of the prime minister told Al Jazeera in Tirana. “The most important thing he’s trying to establish is the rule of law.”

“We expect a better Albania and leaders to work to do what they have pledged at the campaign,” voter Zenel Caka, 47, told the Associated Press news agency in Tirana.

Erion Veliaj, the mayor of Tirana and a staunch Rama ally, told Al Jazeera that the government’s key battle is to clear out corrupt judges.

“The country has been held hostage for a long time by a clique of about 300 judges who check and balance themselves and have zero control from the general public,” he said.

Opinion polls give Rama’s party the edge over Basha’s, but it is not clear whether the prime minister would garner enough support to win an outright majority.

Rama, 52, is seeking a second term in office, pledging to boost economic growth and complete sweeping reforms demanded by Brussels of Albania’s judicial system.

Basha, an ardent admirer of US President Donald Trump, has accused Rama of links to organised crime and turning the Balkan state into a “drugstore”, referring to Albania’s cannabis trade.

The prime miniser rejects the accusations, telling a rally this week that he needs a strong mandate “to do four times more than we did in 44 months”.

The Democrats had threatened to boycott the election until a month ago over fears the vote would be unfair, but they struck a deal giving them key ministerial posts in the run-up.

While national statistics showed the economy grew 3.46 percent last year, up from 1.0 percent in 2013, Albanians said they were yet to feel the benefit.

Unemployed mother Shqipe Berberi, who lives in the western city of Kavaje, said she could not afford to feed her children properly.

“Those who have been in power did nothing,” the 43-year-old told the AFP news agency.

Albania remains one of the poorest countries in Europe and its unemployment rate affecting nearly one in three young people has spurred the highest emigration levels in the world.

Since taking office, the Socialists have managed to improve tax collection and boost the performance of the electricity sector.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/albanians-vote-election-test-democracy-170625133046366.html

at 10:03 pm

Scores killed in tanker fire near Bahawalpur

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At least 153 people have been burnt alive and dozens of others injured after a fuel tanker overturned and exploded outside the eastern city of Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The incident occurred on Sunday morning as a large number of people gathered to collect petrol from the vehicle, according to rescue services.

Residents could be seen walking past blackened and twisted bodies piled by the side of the road.


Charred wreckage of motorcycles and cars lay scattered on the national highway [Shazia Bhatti/Al Jazeera]

Earlier, television footage showed shooting flames and a thick plume of smoke as firefighters battled to extinguish the blaze.

The charred wreckage of dozens of motorcycles and cars could be seen scattered on the highway, along with kitchen utensils, pots, water coolers, jerrycans and buckets which victims had brought to collect the petrol.

Local sources told Al Jazeera that most of the victims were residents of nearby areas who were collecting fuel from the oil tanker, which had overturned after skidding off a national highway in Ahmedpur East.

Analysts said the reaction of the crowds is not surprising, given the problem of fuel shortages and poverty.

“If you go to these areas of Bahawalpur … the poverty level here rises up to 65 percent at times,” Sabir Shah, a journalist at GEO TV in Lahore, told Al Jazeera.

“In these conditions, with these figures, how can you expect people not to collect cooking fuel for themselves? This petrol is being used as cooking fuel by many people in nearby fields.”

‘Huge fireball’

Details were unclear but some witnesses suggested the vehicle had suffered a burst tyre, according to Raja Riffat, the regional police chief.

“When it turned over the residents of the nearby village of Ramzanpur Joya rushed to the site with buckets and other containers, and a large number of people on motorcycles also came and started collecting the spilling fuel,” he told the AFP news agency.


 

“After about 10 minutes the tanker exploded in a huge fireball and enveloped the people collecting petrol. It was not clear how the fire started.”

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital, Islamabad, said the vehicle overturned on a “main logistical supply” route and “a large number of people rushed to the scene and started to collect fuel” that began spilling from the truck.

“Suddenly the area was engulfed in flames, and most of the people were caught in those flames. Apparently most of them were already carrying fuel, so they had no chance,” he said.

“We are told most of the bodies are burnt beyond recognition.”

A doctor in Ahmedpur East said more than 100 people had been brought to the local hospital with more than 80 percent burns before they were rushed to larger hospitals in Multan and Bahawalpur.

At least 90 injured people were moved to Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital and other health facilities.

Lacking burn facilities

Children were among the dead and injured, according to Mohamed Ahmed, a hospital doctor.

People with severe burns were being sent to other cities because the hospital lacked facilities to treat so many patients at the same time, he said.

Rana Sanaullah, Punjab’s law minister, told private ARY television that DNA tests were being used to identify the dead.

He said the driver of the fuel tanker had survived the crash and been taken into custody.

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, expressed his grief at the accident and ordered authorities to make sure the victims were treated at the best medical facilities, his office said in a statement.


Locals gathered to collect fuel right before the tanker exploded [Shazia Bhatti/Al Jazeera]

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/123-dead-tanker-fire-bahawalpur-170625044522993.html

at 9:45 am

At least 123 killed in tanker fire near Bahawalpur

Posted by in Uncategorized

At least 123 people have been burnt alive and dozens of others injured after an oil tanker caught fire and exploded near Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The incident occurred on Sunday morning as a large number of people gathered to collect petrol from the vehicle, according to rescue services.

Local sources told Al Jazeera that most of the victims were residents of nearby areas who were collecting fuel from the oil tanker, which had overturned after skidding off a national highway in Ahmed Pur Sharqia.

Fire brigade vehicles arrived at the site soon after the of the explosion and rescue operations were under way, the sources told Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Pakistan’s Islamabad, said the tanker turned over on a “main logistical supply” route and “a large number of people rushed to the scene and started to collect fuel” that was spilling from the truck. 


Bahawalpur, Pakistan is located in the southern part of Pakistan’s Punjab province 

“Suddenly the area was engulfed in flames, and most of the people were caught in those flames. Apparently most of them were already carrying fuel, so they had no chance.

He added: “We are told most of the bodies are burnt beyond recognition.”

At least 90 people who were injured were moved to Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital and other health facilities. Explaining that the nearest hospital does not have a burn unit, Hyder said the death toll is expected to rise. 

Children were among the dead and injured, said hospital doctor Mohamed Ahmed.

People with severe burns were being sent to other cities because the hospital lacked facilities to treat so many patients at the same time, he added.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his grief at the accident and ordered authorities to make sure the victims were treated at the best medical facilities, his office said in a statement. 

A large number of motorcycles and vehicles were destroyed by the fire.


Locals gathered to collect fuel right before the fire erupted [Shazia Bhatti/Al Jazeera]

Source: Al Jazeera News

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/123-dead-tanker-fire-bahawalpur-170625044522993.html

at 9:45 am

Turkey’s Erdogan denounces demands on Qatar

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has welcomed Qatar’s stand on a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies, saying that the ultimatum is “against international law”.

Qatar has rejected the accusations and said the measures are “unjustified”.

“We welcome [Qatar’s position] because we consider the 13-point list against international law,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday.

Turkey has offered support to Qatar after Saudi Arabia and several other countries severed ties with Qatar over accusations of funding terrorism and fomenting regional instability.

On June 7, Turkey’s parliament fast-tracked legislation to allow troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar, two days after the Saudi-led countries cut ties with Doha in the worst diplomatic crisis in the region in years.

Turkey has a military base in Qatar that currently houses about 90 Turkish soldiers.

The Turkish forces conducted their first training at Tariq bin Ziyad military base earlier this month in a drill that had been long planned.

Qatar on Saturday denounced the ultimatum as unreasonable and an impingement on the emirate’s sovereignty.

The list was received by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 22, the state-run Qatar News Agency said.

“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the Qatari government’s communications office, said in a statement on Friday.

WATCH: What is behind the campaign against Al Jazeera?

Qatar also said it is reviewing the demands and is preparing an official response after confirming the receipt of the document containing the demands.

“The state of Qatar is currently studying this paper, the demands contained therein and the foundations on which they were based, in order to prepare an appropriate response to it and hand it over to the state of Kuwait,” QNA said, citing a statement by the ministry of foreign affairs.

Kuwait has been acting as a mediator to defuse the crisis that erupted on June 5 when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced they were severing relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorism”.

The four countries have not provided any evidence, and Qatar has repeatedly denied the allegations as baseless.

Deadline for compliance

Earlier on Friday, reports emerged that the Saudi-led bloc had given Qatar 10 days to comply with 13 demands, which included shutting down the Al Jazeera Media Network, closing a Turkish military base and scaling down ties with Iran.

In the document, the countries demanded that Qatar severs all alleged ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups, including Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

The document also states that Qatar must consent to monthly compliance audits in the first year after agreeing to the demands, followed by quarterly audits in the second year, and annual audits in the following 10 years.

The list includes a demand that Qatar pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses allegedly caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years.

The document did not specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.

Amir Handjani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Al Jazeera that the demands are a “non-starter”.

“This is a very aggressive position that the Saudi coalition is taking. I think it’s an opening gambit in a long, protracted negotiation,” he said.

“The Saudis are signalling to the Qataris that they are willing to dig in. And I think the Qataris are not going to cave. So I expect tensions to rise.”

Handjani said that the demands amounted to a request that Qatar give up its sovereignty.

READ MORE: The GCC crisis – Draconian demands and juvenile politics

“I am sure as temperatures rise, other countries such as the United States, the UK, the French – who have longstanding ties with the GCC countries … will step in and try and play a mediating role,” he said.

The White House said on Friday that the rift between the countries is a “family issue” and the four Arab states “should work it out”.

Sean Spicer, the US press secretary, said the US will not intervene unless it is “asked to join … and facilitate” discussions between the countries involved.


 

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/erdogan-ultimatum-international-law-170625072407885.html

at 9:45 am

Indonesia: Attackers kill police officer in Medan

Posted by in Uncategorized

Two alleged ISIL fighters stabbed a police officer to death in Medan, in western Indonesia, authorities say, in the latest assault targeting law-enforcement officials in the Southeast Asian country.

Several police officers fought back against the fighters, killing one and critically injuring another, in Sunday’s incident.

“We suspect the attackers have links with ISIL and Bahrun Naim, because we found a ISIL flag, books and CDs linked to [the group] in the house of one attacker,” Setyo Wasisto, national police spokesperson, told AFP news agency.

He was referring to Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian who is fighting with ISIL, of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, in Syria and who has been accused of directing a series of mostly botched plots in his homeland in recent years.

Hundreds of young men from Indonesia have flocked abroad to fight with ISIL, also known as ISIS, and the country has seen a surge in plots and attacks linked to the group over the past year.

READ MORE: Guantanamo detainee Hambali charged in Bali bombing

Sunday’s attack happened just hours before prayers were held as part of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations that mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at the North Sumatra police headquarters.

Police are investigating whether the incident was linked to the recent capture of three fighters accused of plotting to attack police, Wasisto, the police spokesperson, said.

In May suicide bombers killed three police officers at a bus station in Jakarta in the deadliest attack in Indonesia since January 2016, when a suicide blast and gun assault claimed by ISIL left four assailants and four civilians dead in Jakarta.

Indonesia has long struggled with violence and has suffered a series of fatal attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people.

A sustained crackdown weakened the country’s most dangerous networks but the emergence of ISIL has proved a potent new rallying cry.


 

Source: News agencies

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/fighters-kill-police-officer-medan-attack-170625083320169.html

June 24, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Iran foils ‘plot to bomb religious centres’

Posted by in Uncategorized

Iran’s intelligence ministry says its forces have foiled bombings and suicide attacks targeting religious centres after arresting suspected members of a group linked to ISIL, according state television reported.

Security forces “were able to arrest a group linked to Daesh (ISIL) that intended to carry out terror operations in religious cities … and (seized) explosive and suicide attack equipment,” the state broadcaster IRIB said on Saturday.

It did not say how many people were held, or where the operation took place 

Authorities seized three assault rifles, a machine-gun equipped with a silencer, three suicide belts, as well as explosives and bomb-making equipment, according to the report.

READ MORE: Iran’s Khamenei blames US for regional instability

Also seized were night vision goggles, three phones for remote detonation and a large amount of bullets, it added.

The arrests came days after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards fired missiles from western Iran at ISIL positions in eastern Syria in retaliation for two attacks in Tehran earlier this month that were claimed by the armed group.

Since the June 7 attack, Iranian authorities have carried out several operations inside Iran, detaining dozens of people, and targeting groups suspected of having links to ISIL, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and is also known as ISIS.


At least 18 people were killed when suspected ISIL fighters carried out a twin attack in Tehran on June 7 [AFP]

Source: News agencies

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/iran-foils-plot-bomb-religious-centres-170624182140888.html

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