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Fresh Muslim violence kills 89 in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

(CHANNEL NEWS ASIA) — MAUNGDAW, Myanmar: At least 89 people including a dozen Myanmar security forces were killed as Rohingya militants besieged border posts in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar’s authorities said Friday (Aug 25), triggering a fresh exodus of refugees towards Bangladesh.

The state is bisected by religious hatred focused on the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority, who are reviled and perceived as illegal immigrants in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

The office of de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said 12 security officials had been killed alongside 77 militants – the highest declared single day toll since fighting broke out last year.

Friday’s fighting exploded around Rathedaung township which has seen a heavy build-up of Myanmar troops in recent weeks, with reports filtering out of killings by shadowy groups, army-blockaded villages and abuses.

Some 20 police posts came under attack in the early hours of Friday by an estimated 150 insurgents, some carrying guns and using homemade explosives, Myanmar’s military said.

“The military and police members are fighting back together against extremist Bengali terrorists,” Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing said in a statement on Facebook, using the state’s description for Rohingya militants.

One resident in Maungdaw, the main town in northern Rakhine, said gunfire could be heard throughout the night.

“We are still hearing gunshots now, we dare not to go out from our house,” the resident said by phone, asking not to be named.

Footage obtained by AFP showed smoke rising from Zedipyin village in Rathedaung township where fighting was ongoing Friday.

ROHINGYA MILITANCY

Despite years of persecution, the Rohingya largely eschewed violence.

But a previously unknown militant group emerged as a force last October under the banner of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which claims to be leading an insurgency based in the remote May Yu mountain range bordering Bangladesh.

A Twitter account (@ARSA_Official) which purports to represent the group confirmed its fighters were engaging Myanmar’s military in the area and accused the soldiers of carrying out atrocities in recent weeks.

Myanmar says the group is headed by Rohingya jihadists who were trained abroad but it is unclear how large the network is.

Suu Kyi’s office posted pictures of weapons that had been taken from militants, mainly home-made bombs and rudimentary knives and clubs.

Friday’s violence pushed new waves of Rohingya to flee towards Bangladesh.

But border guards there said they would not be allowed to cross.

“More than a thousand of Rohingya women along with children and cattle have gathered near the land border between Myanmar and Bangladesh since this morning,” Manjurul Hasan Khan, commander of Ukhiya town’s border guards, told AFP.

The flare-up came just hours after former UN chief Kofi Annan released a milestone report detailing conditions inside Rakhine and offering ways to heal the festering sectarian tensions there.

Commissioned by Myanmar’s own government, it urged the scrapping of restrictions of movement and citizenship imposed on the roughly one million-strong Rohingya community in Rakhine.

In a statement Annan said he was “gravely concerned” by the latest outbreak of fighting.

“The alleged scale and gravity of these attacks mark a worrying escalation of violence,” he said.

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Islamic State fighters overrun checkpoint in Libya, behead captives

(LONG WAR JOURNAL) — By Thomas Joscelyn

Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State’s arm in Libya overran a checkpoint manned by the Libyan National Army (LNA) yesterday. LNA officials confirmed that at least 11 people were beheaded after the raid.

The so-called caliphate’s Amaq News Agency claimed that 21 members of General Khalifa Haftar’s “militia” were “killed and wounded in an attack by Islamic State fighters on a checkpoint” in the Jufra region.

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told the press that Amaq’s claim was generally accurate. “The terrorist organization Daesh (Islamic State) attacked al-Fogha checkpoint in Jufra region this morning, killing nine soldiers and two civilians were slaughtered,” Mismari said, according to Reuters. Mismari added that the 11 people were beheaded.

The Jufra region is in the middle of Libya, south of the city of Sirte, which served as the Islamic State’s stronghold in North Africa until late last year. Local Libyan forces, backed by the US and its allies, pushed the jihadists out of Sirte over the course of several months.

The State Department reported in July that the Islamic State’s Libyan branch had “as many as 6,000 fighters in its ranks” as of early 2016, but “more than 1,700 ISIS terrorists were killed during the Sirte counterterrorism operations.”

This left the group with approximately 4,300 fighters, at least some of whom have stayed in Libya. It is not clear how many Islamic State loyalists are still in the country. But State confirmed that “many members of the terrorist organization fled to Libya’s western and southern deserts, abroad, or into neighboring urban centers.”

The attack in the Jufra region yesterday confirms that the organization continues to operate well south of its former safe haven along the Mediterranean coast. Since the loss of Sirte, the jihadists have been reorganizing for future operations.

It is certainly possible, if not likely, that the jihadists recorded the beheadings for use in propaganda. In Feb. 2015, the Islamic State released a gruesome video documenting the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians along the coast. The video was used to announce the Islamic State’s growing presence in the country, frighten its local opponents and threaten the West.

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Barcelona jihadists intended to blow up Christian Basilica of Sagrada Familia

(BREITBART) — by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.

The Islamic terrorists who carried out a killing rampage in Barcelona earlier this week had plans to blow up the iconic Catholic basilica of la Sagrada Familia, according to new reports.

The Spanish newspaper El Español has noted that the jihadist cell had a stockpile of explosives at a nearby property in Alcanar (Tarragona) and intended to use three vans to detonate them in three different points of the city in order to inflict the greatest possible damage. An accidental explosion at the Alcanar estate on Wednesday left the terrorists without ammunition and forced them to improvise the vehicle attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the report states.

“They were preparing one or several attacks in Barcelona and an explosion in Alcanar stopped this as they no longer had the material they needed to commit attacks of an even bigger scope,” said Josep Lluis Trapero of Catalonia’s police.

The explosion killed one jihadists and left another in serious condition.

The prime target of the attack was meant to be the Catholic Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) basilica, an enormous neo-gothic structure designed by Spanish artist Antoni Gaudí, which draws huge numbers of visitors and pilgrims each day. Construction of the still unfinished church began in 1882 and is projected for completion in 2026.

According to reports, the terrorists had chosen the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia as their main target because it is a symbol of the city and of the Christian religion, as well as for the massive flow of visitors. During 2016, the church was visited by some 4.5 million people, and more than 20 million people came to view the structure from the outside.

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Barcelona terrorists plotted massive butane bomb, hundreds targeted

(BREITBART) — By Liam Deacon

The Barcelona Islamist terrorists could have massacred hundreds more if their original plans had worked out, potentially including a deadly butane gas bomb loaded in a van.

Spanish police believe a cell of up to 12 were plotting to use a huge stash of canisters filled with the highly flammable gas in their assault on Thursday afternoon.

Josep Lluís Trapero, the head of the Catalan regional police force, said the attack was linked to a massive explosion, which killed two and injured 16, in a potential bomb factory just 24 hours before the terrorists struck.

Authorities believe the blast was caused by a person inside “preparing an explosive device”, Sky News reports. It is possible the terrorists accidentally detonated their stash and were forced to launch their attack early.

Joaquim Forn, a Catalan government official, also told a local radio station on Friday morning that it was possible the attackers had intended to use canisters in the attack on Thursday.

The blast occurred at around 11.15pm on Wednesday night in a housing estate called Montecarlo de Alcanar Platja, in Alcanar, in the province of Tarragona, south of Barcelona.

One person was killed and seven more injured including one seriously. The house was completely destroyed and the explosion heard miles away. Police said it was possible a second person was dead amongst the ruins of the house.

Fire fighters said more than 20 butane gas canisters were found amongst the rubble – far more than would be needed for conventional use of the substance.

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Finland: Knife-wielding attacker ‘shouting Allahu Akbar’ stabs at least eight people leaving two dead

(UK MIRROR) — Two people have been killed and at least eight others hospitalized after a knife-wielding attacker went on the rampage in Finland.

Armed police shot the suspect in the leg after he began stabbing people in the city of Turku just after 4pm (6pm GMT) this afternoon.

As he carried out the terrifying attack, cries of “Allahu Akbar” were apparently heard – although many have argued on social media that the phrase sounds like “beware” in Finnish.

Police said tonight they cannot confirm if the man was shouting in Arabic and confirmed they are not treating the incident as a terror attack.

At least eight people – reportedly including a woman with a pushchair – were hospitalized after the rampage, with two receiving emergency surgery.

The incident, which has sparked terror fears, comes just a day after a white van mowed down crowds of pedestrians in Barcelona, Spain, killing 14 and injuring more than 100 others.

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Second Spain terror attack: Police fatally shoot at least five suspects near Barcelona

(NY DAILY NEWS) — BY Jessica Chia Elizabeth Elizalde

Five suspects wearing explosive belts mowed down civilians in the seaside town of Cambrils, Spain, early Friday before they were killed in a shootout with police just hours after a similar terror attack in Barcelona, local officials said.

“The alleged terrorists were in an Audi A3 and apparently knocked down several people before coming across a police patrol and a shoot-out ensued,” said a spokesman for the regional government of Catalonia.

Police shot and killed four suspects in the town about 70 miles south of Barcelona. A fifth was injured and arrested before authorities confirmed the suspect died.

The suspected terrorists were wearing explosive belts, which have been detonated by the police force’s bomb squad.

At least six civilians and one police officer were injured, according to Catalan authorities. Five remain in the hospital.

Among them, one is in critical condition, two sustained serious injuries while another two are stable, according to emergency services.

Police say the suspects in Cambrils were linked to an attack late Thursday afternoon in Barcelona that killed 13 people and injured at least 100 others.

The region’s Interior Minister Joaquin Forn told local radio RAC1 early Friday that the Cambrils attack “follows the same trail. There is a connection.”

In Barcelona, a white van jumped onto a curb, swerved through the busy thoroughfare and struck pedestrians at Las Ramblas in what police called a terror attack.

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TERROR IN SPAIN Barcelona attack – 13 dead and 80 injured after rented van ploughs into Las Ramblas crowds – as ‘one suspect is killed in shootout with cops’ and another two are arrested

(THE SUN) — DEPRAVED terrorists have killed at least 13 people and injured 80 in Barcelona using a rented van which they zigzagged through a busy shopping district mowing down terrified tourists.

Cops have confirmed that two men have been arrested while another suspect has reportedly been shot and killed during a gun fight with brave officers in Sant Just Desvern – a small town just outside of the Catalan capital.

Cops clad in black and carrying machine guns were seen entering the Boqueria open-air market backed up by regular police armed with pistols.

Footage has emerged of terrified people being evacuated as police locked down and surrounded the area.

Police have confirmed that one of the vans involved in the deadly attack was rented by a man named as Driss Oukabir. According to local media, Oukabir is a Spanish national of North African descent.

The van reportedly drove through a security point hitting three police officers before starting its deadly rampage on Las Ramblas.

Police have confirmed that the van used in the sick assault has been found and had no explosives inside.

Spanish media reports that a second van was rented to help the attackers escape from the scene.

A huge emergency response rushed to the scene on the iconic Las Ramblas tourist hotspot at around 4pm today.

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National mourning in Burkina Faso after restaurant attack that killed 18

(FRANCE 24) — Burkina Faso on Tuesday was observing the second of three days of national mourning declared after two suspected Islamist extremists attacked the Aziz Istanbul Café in Ouagadougou, killing at least 18 people.

The café was popular with foreigners living and working in the capital. After a several-hour-long gun battle, Burkina Faso’s special forces killed the assailants and ended the attack.

“They turned away from me like this and at the same moment they set off a ‘boom’,” one witness told FRANCE 24. “And I panicked and fell down.”

The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed the death of at least one French national. Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry told AFP on Monday that the attack killed seven locals and at least eight foreigners including a Frenchman, a Canadian woman, two Kuwaiti women and male victims from Senegal, Niger, Lebanon and Turkey.

The attack brought back painful memories of the January 2016 attack at another café that left 30 people dead.

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This is not a joke: Muslim migrants want ban on jokes about Islam

(UK EXPRESS) — By Ida Akerstedt

A new study found the majority of Muslims in Austria want jokes about Islam to be banned.

The study, conducted by the Danube University of Krems, revealed a major contrast between typical Austrian values and those of migrants from countries like Somalia and Chechnya, who have fare more religious views.

The researchers found that 60 per cent of those interviewed believed jokes about Islam should be banned, while a quarter said Islam should influence the country’s laws.

Those who take offense to Islamic jokes also varies wildly country by country – as many as 70 per cent of Somalians wanted to ban jokes about Islam, while only 14 per cent of Iranians agreed a ban on jokes was necessary.

Chechens and Somalians also overwhelmingly agreed Islam should play more of a role in Austrian society, with as many as 72 per cent of Somalians wanting more Islam in Austria’s culture.

This year, Austria approved a series of measures aimed at integrating migrants, including a burka ban and the introduction of mandatory language lessons.

The controversial ban to block residents from wearing full-face coverings in public was met with fury from some human rights group and condemnation from many Muslim organizations.

But the country’s foreign minister Sebastian Kurz, who was behind the legislation, shrugged off criticism and vowed to get the proposals passed into law.

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Al Qaeda has drawn a bullseye on a new American target: Subway trains

(WASHINGTON TIMES) — By Rowan Scarborough

Al Qaeda is about to take on a new target — America’s trains — in an upcoming edition of its terror magazine, Inspire.

Issue No. 17 is headlined, “Train Derail Operations,” and will spell out ways to create rail disasters in a transportation system that lacks the stiff security procedures of airline travel.

It’s competing Sunni extremists group, the Islamic State, for more than a year has advocated using vehicles to mow down innocents. Its murderous followers have weaponized vehicles in Nice, Berlin and London, creating hundred of deaths and injuries.

Adding trains to the terrorist’s priority list would put at risk virtually every mode of transportation and placed added pressure on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) put out a report on Friday saying al Qaeda has teased the Inspire articles with a trailer appearing on Telegram app channels operated by its fans.

“The trailer highlights that derailments are simple to design using easily available materials, that such a planned attack can be hard to detect, and that the outcome can substantially damage a country’s transportation sector and the Western economy in general,” MEMRI said.

The U.S. maintains over 100,000 miles of rail. But the trailer features scenes of just one system, the subway. Its shows cars flashing through urban tunnels. It quotes from U.S. Government Accountability Office reports on the vulnerability of rail lines to sabotage. It then shows what appear to be rudimentary devices that can be clamped onto a line to cause a derailment.

“Simple to design,” the promo says in English script, mentioning “America” several times. “Made from readily available materials. Hard to be detached. Cause great destruction to the Western economy and transportation sector.”

Al Qaeda in recent months has depicted itself as making a comeback from its headquarters in Yemen. It has created new alliances in North Africa, is using social media to attract adherence and has not given up the idea of another mass-casualty attack such as its commandeered airliner strike on New York and the Pentagon in 2001.

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