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Afghan Forces in Fierce Battle with Taliban Tuesday

(VOA) — ISLAMABAD — Afghan forces say they have pushed back the Taliban as reports said heavy fighting continued in Farah city, the capital of Afghanistan’s western Farah province.

Fierce fighting broke out in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday after Taliban fighters attacked from the north and reached within three kilometers of the center of the province, according to Norulhaq Khaleqi, the spokesman for the Second Brigade of the Afghan National Army. Army officials said most of the fighting took place in the northern and western parts of the city.

Officials of the Afghan ministries of defense and interior claimed their security forces have stopped the Taliban’s advance in the north of Farah city. In a joint press briefing midday Tuesday, they said their forces were fighting the Taliban a few kilometers outside the city.

Taliban leaders had claimed their fighters captured a number of government offices including a local office of the Afghan Intelligence Agency (NDS) during the fighting, a claim Najib Danish, an interior ministry spokesman, denied. He said Afghan forces were receiving support from foreign forces.

Afghan government officials at Tuesday’s news conference said two Afghan security personnel were killed and four others wounded, while, 10 Taliban were killed and the same number of them wounded.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses told VOA that Taliban are still inside Farah city and fighting continued later Tuesday in a number of back streets. They said although the reinforcements have helped the security forces, the street to street fight with the Taliban continued.

Local media reported that Taliban forces was close to taking over a prison in the city.

“#FARAH – Farid Bakhtawar, head of Farah provincial council, has said that clashes are ongoing in the city and the “enemies” are moving towards the prison compound.#Afghanistan,” a tweet from the verified account of Afghanistan’s Tolo News TV channel read.

Defense ministry officials sought to quell panic as local media reported some residents were fleeing the city. “We assure the people of Farah that all necessary operations have been implemented and Afghan air force, commando force, and contingents of Corp in western Afghanistan are in action against security threats,” defense ministry officials said in a statement.

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Dozens Killed, Wounded as Taliban Closes in on City in Western Afghanistan

(ONE AMERICAN NEWS NETWORK) — The Taliban continues its insurgency in Afghanistan with an assault on Farah City.

Afghan officials say dozens of security forces have been killed and wounded in Tuesday’s attack.

The Taliban overran several security checkpoints in the city near Afghanistan’s border with Iran.

The latest reports say the terrorist group is still two-miles away from the city center. and the battle is still underway.

The Taliban controls several nearby districts, but the U.S. and Afghan forces have been working to retake them.

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Gaza toll rises to 60 as fresh protests against Israel gather

(AFP) – Palestinians were gathering Tuesday for fresh protests along the Gaza border, a day after Israeli forces killed dozens there as the US embassy opened in Jerusalem on what was the conflict’s bloodiest day in years.

Palestinians on Tuesday marked the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

It came a day after the United States transferred its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem in a move that infuriated the Palestinians and was widely condemned.

Most of the 60 Gazans killed Monday were shot by Israeli snipers, Gaza’s health ministry said.

The toll included a baby who died from tear gas inhalation along with eight children under the age of 16, the ministry said.

At least 2,400 others were wounded in the bloodiest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 Gaza war.

Some funerals were held on Monday, while others were taking place Tuesday.

Hundreds of people took part in the funeral of Yazan Tubasi, 23, killed east of Gaza City.

His father Ibrahim, 50, said his son had a boy aged one year and three months.

“I am happy that my son is a martyr,” he said, though he was crying uncontrollably. “He is among dozens who died for the sake of Palestine and Jerusalem.”

Small numbers of protesters began returning to the border area on Tuesday, with larger crowds expected later.

In the West Bank, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas declared a general strike on Tuesday after accusing Israel of “massacres”.

– Protests and clashes –

On Monday, tens of thousands had gathered near the border in protest while smaller numbers of stone-throwing Palestinians approached the fence and sought to break through, with Israeli snipers positioned on the other side.

The death toll led to strong condemnation from rights groups and concern from a range of countries.

But the United States, which blamed Hamas, blocked the adoption of a UN Security Council statement that would have called for an independent probe into the violence, diplomats said.

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Netanyahu thanks Trump for keeping promises, moving embassy to Jerusalem

(JERUSALEM POST) — Sixty-nine years after Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital, and 23 years after the US Congress passed a law mandating that Washington move its embassy there, the US formally opened its embassy in the city on Monday afternoon, in a move Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called “courageous” and “momentous.”

“What a glorious day. Remember this moment!” Netanyahu entreated the applauding crowd. “President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful.”

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Jewish protesters in Washington D.C. condemn US embassy move, May 14, 2018 (Reuters)

“Last December, President Trump became the first world leader to recognize Jerusalem as our capital, and today, the United States of America is opening its embassy right here in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Thank you President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises!”

In a video address to the assembly, US President Donald Trump said the move was “a long time coming,” and that Israel, like all sovereign nations, has a right to name its own capital.

Trump mentioned that the US would still be observing the status quo in terms of contested territories such as on Temple Mount.

“The US will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace,” Trump said. “We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors. May there be peace. May God bless this embassy. May God bless all who serve here and may God bless the United States of America.”

Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, took the stage. to declare that “When President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.”

“By moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the world once again that the US can be trusted. We stand with our friends and our allies, and above all we’ve shown that the US will do what’s right, and so we have,” Kushner said.

“The US stands with Israel because we both believe in freedom. We stand together because we both believe in human rights. We stand together because we both believe that democracy is worth defending. And the US stands with Israel because we know that it’s the right thing to do.”

Kushner received resounding applause when he mentioned President Trump’s decision last week to exit the Iran nuclear agreement, and when he gave thanks to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley for her hard work.

Kusher also reiterated the US’s commitment to helping find a peaceful end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Jerusalem must remain a city that brings people of all faiths together,” he said. “As Israel turns 70, the search for lasting peace turns over a new leaf: one of realism, and of courage to stand with our allies for what is right and what is true.”

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Former ISIS Fighter: Islamic State Will Return With More Rigid Ideology

(OANN) — A former ISIS fighter issues a warning to the U.S. the ideology of the Islamic State will not go away.

Thursday, a Belgian man claiming to be one of the first foreign members of ISIS, gave an interview from a terrorist prison in Syria.

He warned of continued plots and splinter groups that will arise from the now defeated Muslim caliphate in Syria.

He said fighters were already planning to organize break away terror groups before the fall of Raqqa.

Reports show, many displaced ISIS fighters from Syria and Iraq are now moving to areas of the Philippines, where one in five residents are Muslim.

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‘Kill them all’: ISIS thugs call on fanatics to launch attacks at the World Cup in chilling new propaganda

(DAILY MAIL) — By Julian Robinson

ISIS thugs have called on their supporters to launch attacks at the World Cup in chilling new online propaganda.

The terror group’s latest poster, showing a knife set on a red back ground in front of a football stadium in Russia, comes with a French caption translated as ‘Kill them all’.

It is the latest in a series of ISIS threats made against football’s showpiece tournament, which kicks off on June 14 in Moscow.

The poster was released by a French ISIS-linked group, according to SITE Intelligence, which monitors terror activity.

In April, ISIS warned Russian President Vladimir Putin he will ‘pay the price for killing Muslims’. The poster showed a jihadist emerging from an explosion and holding an AK-47 aloft, with a packed football arena in the background.

President Putin can be seen on the left of the image with a black and orange target aiming straight at him. Across the poster is written; ‘Russia 2018. Putin you disbeliever. You will pay the price for killing Muslims.’

The threat is likely to be linked to Putin’s support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in his government’s fight against ISIS – a battle also fought by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces and other rebel factions in Syria.

In March, ISIS supporters targeted Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi in a poster showing him kneeling next to a jihadist.

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9 journalists killed in Afghanistan: This is ‘a reminder of the extreme dangers to media workers’

(ABC NEWS) — Nine journalists were killed in dual blasts in Kabul, Afghanistan, this morning.
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A Kabul police spokesman said the second suicide bomber was among the crowd of reporters who were rushing to the scene of the first blast when another device was detonated, according to The Associated Press.

Police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said the second attacker was pretending to be a member of the media, the AP reported.

PHOTO: Security forces run from the site of a suicide attack after the second explosion in Kabul, April 30, 2018. A coordinated double suicide bombing hit central Kabul.Massoud Hossaini/AP Images
Security forces run from the site of a suicide attack after the second explosion in Kabul, April 30, 2018. A coordinated double suicide bombing hit central Kabul.
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The health ministry in Afghanistan released the names and affiliations of the nine journalists who were killed:

Shah Marai, a longtime photographer for Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Ebadullah Hananzai, from Radio Free Europe

Sabawoon Kakar, from Radio Free Europe

Yar Mohammad Tokhi, a Tolonews cameraman

Ghazi Rasooli, a 1TV reporter

Nowrooz Rajabj, a 1TV cameraman

Saleem Talash, a Mashal TV reporter

Mahram Durani, a journalist from Shamsad TV

Ali Salimi, a Mashal TV cameraman.

ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the Kabul attacks, which left at least 25 people dead and 45 others injured.

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House Panel Witnesses: Islamic State Remains ‘Potent’ Threat in Libya

(BREITBART) — by Edwin Mora

WASHINGTON, DC — The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) remains a “potent” menace in Libya more than a year after U.S.-backed local forces pushed the group out of former stronghold Sirte, experts told a House panel.

Soon after the Islamic State (IS) lost Sirte in December 2016, U.S. and Libyan officials began warning about a potential resurgence of the terrorist group, noting that the jihadists were regrouping elsewhere in Libya, namely the desert valleys and inland hills southeast of the country.

In written testimony prepared for a hearing Wednesday held by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and Africa, Christopher Blanchard, a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), acknowledged:

Transnational terrorist groups and locally organized armed extremist groups, including supporters of the Islamic State organization and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), remain active in Libya. Some IS fighters appear to have regrouped in rural areas after fleeing Sirte in late 2016, and the group claimed a series of attacks on Libyan forces in 2017.

Robyn Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), predicted early this year that ISIS would “give priority to the restructuring of security forces and infrastructure, and to launch strikes, which may include targets in the Libyan oil crescent.”

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Isis trying to foment a wave of migration to Europe, says UN official

(THE GUARDIAN) — Islamic State commanders fleeing Syria are conspiring with extremist groups in Africa to foment and infiltrate a new migration wave destined for Europe, the head of the UN World Food Programme has said.

David Beasley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina, said Europe needed to wake up to the extremists’ strategy in the Sahel region.

Those forced out of Syria were uniting with local terrorist groups to use a lack of food as both a recruitment tool and a vehicle to push millions of Africans towards Europe, he said.

Speaking to the Guardian during a visit to Brussels for a two-day Syria summit, Beasley said: “You are going to face a similar pattern of what took place years ago, except you are going to have more Isis and extremist groups infiltrating migration.

“What we are picking up is that they are partnering with the extremist groups like Boko Haram and al-Qaida to divvy up territory and resources and to continue to infiltrate and destabilize in the hope of creating migration into Europe where they can infiltrate and cause chaos.

“My comment to the Europeans is that if you think you had a problem resulting from a nation of 20 million people like Syria because of destabilization and conflict resulting in migration, wait until the greater Sahel region of 500 million people is further destabilized. And this is where the European community and international community has got to wake up.”

A four-year campaign against Isis has destroyed much of the group’s so-called caliphate, confining it to a tract of land in the Euphrates valley near the border with Iraq and decimating the cities of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor. But officials involved in the campaign say at least 2,200 fighters remain entrenched in the east of Syria.

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Kabul Bombing Kills 57 in Line for Voter ID Cards

(VOA) — A suicide bomber struck a distribution center for Afghan voters’ identification cards Sunday morning in Kabul, killing at least 57 people and wounding more than 100 others.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najeeb Danish told VOA that people were waiting in line outside the center to get their Tazkira, or identification card, to be able to vote in the election when the bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body.

Hospital sources have described condition of a least ten wounded people as “highly critical”.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has condemned the “terrorist” attack on the center set up in a Kabul school.

“I stand with those affected by this coward attack. Our resolve for fair and transparent election will continue and terrorists won’t win against the will of the Afghan people,” Abdullah wrote on his official Twitter account.

President Ashraf Ghani launched the voter registration process last week, allowing the Independent Election Commission to prepare voter lists for the October 20 parliamentary and district council elections. This will be the first time in Afghani history that elections will be held on the basis of formal voters lists.

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