Tagged: Islamic State

Confusion, chaos after Taliban breach Afghan base kills 140 soldiers

(JERUSALEM POST) — Afghan soldier Zabihullah was chatting with an army comrade at their military base in northern Afghanistan when gunfire interrupted their quiet Friday afternoon.

“I asked my friend what was happening, and he said, relax, it must be one of us.”

It wasn’t. It was the Taliban.

Dressed in army uniforms, at least 10 Taliban attackers had breached the military headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif, eventually killing more than 140 soldiers, according to the latest estimates by officials.

“When they started hitting other soldiers, we understood that it was a terrorist attack,” Zabihullah told Reuters from his hospital bed, wounded by an explosion. “The soldiers were dropping like sparrows hit by a shotgun.”

The attack, which is likely the deadliest yet on an Afghan military base, represents a major blow to the country’s struggling security forces as they prepare for what is expected to be a year of bloody fighting against the Taliban, as well as other smaller militant groups like Islamic State.

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Paris terror attack: Live updates after ISIS gunman kills officer and injures two ‘as police hunt second suspect’

(UK MIRROR) — By Steve Robson and Joshua Taylor

A police officer has been killed after ‘terrorist’ gunmen opened fire with Kalashnikovs in Paris.

Shots rang out on the iconic Champs Elysees – one of the world’s most prestigious boulevards – leaving one officer dead and another two injured. A passerby was also wounded.

One of the suspects is dead but another is alive and an arrest warrant has been issued.

The attack, which has been claimed by ISIS, came when gunmen opened fire at a stationary police car at traffic lights, according to the French policing union.

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Rev. Graham: The city of Qaraqosh in Iraq had 50,000 Christians in 2014, now 7 families remain

(CNS NEWS) — By Michael W. Chapman

During his recent trip to Iraq to celebrate Easter, Reverend Franklin Graham visited the city of Qaraqosh, where in 2014 some 50,000 Christians were forced to flee because of attacks from the Islamic State and where today only about 7 families remain. Because of radical Islam, most of Iraq’s Christian “congregations are now dispersed all over the world,” he said.

In an April 16 post on Facebook, Rev. Graham wrote, “Yesterday we went to the city of Qaraqosh, in Iraq, which used to be home to some 50,000 Christians who were forced to flee for their lives in 2014. Now just a handful, about 7 families, remain.”

“I visited a church that had been burned and destroyed by ISIS and met with the pastor,” said Graham. “Incredibly, in the ashes and debris, we discovered one of our Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that had been given to a child there at some point. I couldn’t help but wonder where the child who received this box is today.”

“My heart goes out to the pastors in this region,” he said. “Most of their congregations are now dispersed all over the world. As shepherds they want to be able to help their flocks. They want to be able to care for them and protect them, but until there’s a political settlement there’s no way this is going to happen.”

“Will you join me in praying for them?” said Rev. Graham.

He continued, “We also found charred pages from a Bible. I picked up a section that contained John 20:27 – ‘Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ He’s still saying that to the world today—this Easter Sunday—Believe!”

Franklin Graham is the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham. Franklin Graham runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse.

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Officials: At least 94 Islamic State fighters dead in U.S. bombing

(UPI) — At least 94 Islamic State fighters were killed when the U.S. military dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on militant group targets in Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Saturday.

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar, told several media outlets the number of dead was up from the 36 deaths reported on Friday. Officials said the number could increase as assessments of the bombing area continue.

“The number of Daesh fighters killed in the U.S. bomb in Achin district jumped to 94, including four commanders,” Khogiani told CNN, using an alternative name the IS. The IS’ media wing, Amaq News Agency, said none of its fighters were killed or injured.

The bomb dropped on Thursday was a 21,600-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, nicknamed “the mother of all bombs” or MOAB. It was released from a C-130 Hercules in eastern Afghanistan at 7:32 local time. The device is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the Pentagon’s arsenal.

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Iraqi soldiers hit by Islamic State gas attack in western Mosul

(SKY NEWS) — A gas attack blamed on Islamic State militants has struck Iraqi soldiers in a newly-liberated area of Mosul.

The country’s military said jihadists fired a chlorine-filled rocket at troops who are trying to seize the west of the Iraqi city from IS.

Seven soldiers suffered breathing problems and were treated in a nearby field clinic following the night attack in al Abar.

US-backed Iraqi forces launched their offensive to reclaim western Mosul in February and have already taken back more than half of it.

But their progress has been slowed by improvised explosive devices and snipers as the troops engage in house-to-house fighting.

The US-led coalition is attempting to recapture the Old City from the extremists, but the ancient quarters are densely populated and there have been concerns over civilian casualties.

The jihadists have been sheltering behind families, using them as human shields and mounting attacks from their homes while terrorizing them into staying.

Thousands of civilians have managed to flee, but many are still trapped in what is the last major IS stronghold in Iraq.

The extremists were driven out of the eastern half of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, in January.

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Coptic churches are devastated by double ISIS bombers as 43 Christians are killed at two Palm Sunday services in Egypt

(DAILY MAIL) — At least 43 people were killed in bomb attacks on two Egyptian Coptic churches on Palm Sunday that included the seat of the Coptic Pope, the latest assault on a religious minority increasingly targeted by Islamist militants.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, which also injured more than 100 people and occurred a week before Coptic Easter, with Pope Francis scheduled to visit Egypt later this month.

The first bombing, in Tanta, a Nile Delta city about 100 km (60 miles) north of Cairo, tore through the inside of St. George Church during its Palm Sunday service, killing at least 27 people and injuring at least 78, the Ministry of Health said.

The second, carried out a few hours later by a suicide bomber in Alexandria, hit Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the historic seat of the Coptic Pope, killing 16 people, including three police officers, and injuring 41, the ministry added.

Coptic Pope Tawadros, who had attended mass at Saint Mark’s Cathedral, was still in the building at the time of the explosion but was not harmed, the Interior Ministry said.

“These acts will not harm the unity and cohesion of the people,” Tawadros said later, according to state media.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi condemned the attacks and summoned the National Defense Council to an urgent session.

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Fears of Islamic State’s long game persist as caliphate crumbles

(VOA) — By Jeff Seldin

Across much of Iraq and parts of Syria, the Islamic State terror group is in retreat. Yet, Iraqi and U.S. officials tell VOA they have a creeping fear that the larger war is still very much undecided.

To be clear, few worry IS will again be able to make the kind of sudden, massive land grab it did in 2013 and 2014 when, bolstered by tens of thousands of foreign fighters, it captured one Iraqi city after another.

Rather, they fear something more subtle: that the resilient terror group has played the long game well enough that even as its self-declared caliphate teeters on the verge of collapse, it will be a force to reckon with for some time to come.

“They have sleeper cells. They have networks,” Najmaldin Karim, the governor of Iraq’s Kirkuk province, said during a recent visit to Washington. “They exist everywhere.”

The extent to which IS has permeated Iraqi society, despite losing its grip on upward of 65 percent of the territory it once controlled, is difficult to estimate. But Iraqi and U.S. officials caution that IS has found ways to slip past even the most watchful eyes.

Teenage fighters

Perhaps the terror group’s most successful and insidious tactic is its use of teenagers, young enough to avoid suspicion but old enough to be highly effective. U.S. and Iraqi officials describe them as the first wave of brainwashed youth truly capable of serving IS’s cause.

“Those who were 14 or 15 years old when ISIS came, now they are very active,” Karim said, describing them as hardened veterans.

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Secret text message ordered the lone wolf to carry out London terror attack

(UK MIRROR) — ISIS fanatics used the secretive messaging site Telegram to call for a lone wolf attack on Parliament just weeks before Khalid Masood struck.

A Sunday Mirror probe has uncovered chilling messages in which jihadi masterminds urged terrorists to mount atrocities in the UK.

They shared an image of an IS fighter dressed like executioner Jihadi John, wielding a sword in front of Big Ben.

The illustration – headlined Fight Them – showed a fireball and a tattered Union Flag flying from a pole.

Just weeks later Masood, 52, plowed his car into scores of innocent bystanders on Westminster Bridge, killing three and injuring 50.

Then he rammed gates at Parliament and stabbed married dad PC Keith Palmer, 48, to death – before being shot dead himself.

Masood had been sending messages via WhatsApp in the moments before Wednesday’s attack.

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Turning kids into killers: Islamic State creates lost generation of Iraqi youth

(MIDDLE EAST EYE) — Mosul, Iraq – Hasan thought he had seen everything after fighting Islamic State in Fallujah in Tikrit. Then he came to Mosul, and a boy no older then 10 tried to kill him.

“It was utterly shocking,” said the 40-year-old soldier, dragging nervously on a cigarette as he remembers the child among a group of young IS suicide bombers.

“I found myself in front of children full of hatred. They all had explosive belts and they were all ready to die. It isn’t anything like killing an adult. But we had to do it.

“It’s a cruelty that has no end. For us it is a violent pain, we know we have to fight against children who have been indoctrinated in the name of a sick religion.”

This is the reality of war in northern Iraq, where IS is throwing everything – and everyone – at Iraqi forces as they slowly take back Mosul and the surrounding areas in a bitter war that has destroyed the very social fabric of the city.

Children have been spared nothing: poverty, malnutrition and cruelty under IS control; then forced onto the frontlines to be used as spotters, fighters, human shields and suicide bombers as the battles began to rage.

These are tactics that have destroyed family life in the city and its surrounding villages, where IS scooped up youngsters to teach them the ways of their “Caliph”.

In Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul, Amir tells Middle East Eye of his own son, Mushak, who swore allegiance aged 11 soon after IS arrived in 2014.

“My children had never gone to school,” he said, his face a contortion of fatigue and pain.

“When Daesh arrived my son was a boy full of anger, he could not read or write. They taught him the hatred of the infidels. They taught him to kill.

“In two-and-a-half years he became a soldier of the Islamic police. He wasn’t even 14. I tried to stop him swearing allegiance to the Caliph, and he told me: ‘Shut up or I’ll cut your head’.”

“One day he came home with a gun and threatened me – an armed child who comes into the house saying I cannot criticise Daesh – and broke his mother’s arm as she begged him to stop.”

All villages had recruiters, said Amir, adding that more than half of the children of Hamam al-Alil have been recruited, many of them never been seen again.

Amir has lost his son: “I’m not scared he is dead. I do not care. Mushak is the shame of our family.

“Now here everybody hate us, we are desperate, we can not even go to the shop, we live locked in the house, for fear of being lynched in the street. We lost everything, a son, home, dignity, everything.”

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Jihadi terror manuals on how to use a car as a ‘tool of war’ for mass murder can be found in just two minutes on Google and Twitter

(DAILY MAIL) — Guides to mounting a car terror attack were available on Google and Twitter last night. The vile manuals were online despite widespread warnings that UK jihadists use them for training.

Fanatics are urged to deploy large vehicles as ‘tools of war’ before going on a stabbing rampage – the template for Wednesday’s atrocity in Westminster. Boris Johnson accused social media websites of inciting terrorism.

And Google’s YouTube video platform was found to be raking in money from conspiracy theories saying the London outrage was a hoax.

As the maniac behind the attack was unmasked as 52-year-old Khalid Masood:

The security services faced questions because he was known to police and MI5;
Home Secretary Amber Rudd denied failures but admitted: ‘One got through’;
It emerged MPs had raised concerns about the Commons gates Masood waltzed through;
Officials revealed that he was shot dead by a ministerial bodyguard, rather than by armed police;
Islamic State claimed Masood was its ‘soldier’;
Officers made eight arrests around the country;
The death toll rose to five when a 75-year-old man died in hospital last night.

Masood, a bodybuilder and violent criminal who claimed to have been a teacher, raced across Westminster Bridge on Wednesday in a hire car, smashing into pedestrians at up to 70mph, killing three and injuring 28.

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