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Tag Archive: Islamism


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100 said killed in Paris theater alone as attackers tossed explosives at hostages; police kill at least 2 gunmen in raid; gunman said to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’; French capital terrorized by attacks in 7 locales

November 14, 2015, 12:13 am 36
  • Victims lay on the pavement outside a Paris restaurant, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Police officials in France on Friday reported multiple terror incidents, leaving many dead. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
    Victims lay on the pavement outside a Paris restaurant, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Police officials in France on Friday reported multiple terror incidents, leaving many dead. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
  • France's President Hollande declares a state of emergency amid multiple attacks in Paris, November 13, 2015 (France 24 screenshot)
    France’s President Hollande declares a state of emergency amid multiple attacks in Paris, November 13, 2015 (France 24 screenshot)
  • Fans leave the Stade de France amid a stream of fatal attacks in Paris, including explosions near the stadium, November 13, 2015. (Foto AP/Michel Euler)

The Times of Israel is live blogging events as they unfold late Friday and into Saturday.

1,500 extra soldiers deployed to Paris after attacks

The office of the French President Francois Hollande says that at least 1,500 extra soldiers have been deployed to Paris after the deadly attacks tonight.

Hollande heads to Paris theater where 100 killed

A French police official says top government officials including President Francois Hollande were headed to the Bataclan concert hall where hostages were taken.

According to police, at least 100 people were killed in the theater. A police assault on the venue finished earlier tonight, leaving at least two attackers dead, officials say.

Facebook activates ‘safety check’ feature after Paris attacks

Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature — allowing users to alert friends and others that they are safe — following the deadly terror attacks in Paris which have claimed the lives of at least 140 people tonight.

 

Screenshot from Facebook's 'Safety Check' feature allowing users to report that they are safe.

Screenshot from Facebook’s ‘Safety Check’ feature allowing users to report that they are safe.

Netanyahu: Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with France against terror

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder” with France in the “war against terrorism” after a deadly string of attacks in Paris left at least 140 dead tonight.

“Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with President Francois Hollande and with the French people in the war against terrorism,” Netanyahu said as he offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

Police say 100 dead inside Paris theater; total death toll up to 140

French police say that about 100 people were killed inside the Bataclan theater in Paris tonight, bringing the total death toll from the multiple terror attacks across the French capital to 140.

‘Dozens’ killed in Paris theater as attackers tossed explosives at hostages

Dozens of people are dead inside Paris’ famous Bataclan theater where a terrorist attack took place earlier tonight, and some 100 people were taken hostage. The death toll is expected to rise as the situation becomes clearer.

Police launched a raid and killed two attackers a short while ago.

One Paris official described “carnage” inside the building, saying the attackers had tossed explosives at the hostages.

— AP contributed

 

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An al-Nusra Front battalion training during the Syrian Civil War.

Wikipedia.org

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Wed Nov 11, 2015 7:4
EXCLUSIVE: Al-Nusra’s Saudi Commander Begs Terrorist Groups to Rush to Aleppo

 

Abdullah al-Muhsini, the al-Nusra’s senior commander, wrote on his social network pages that in case all militant groups do not join their comrades in Aleppo, the entire province “which is of vitally strategic value will soon be lost” to the Syrian army.

The Saudi Sheikh who is also a religious leader voiced deep concern over militants’ status quo in Aleppo, saying that the Syrian army and its allies have increased the momentum of their advances in the last few days.

He specially demanded militants in neighboring Hama province to “show care for common, instead of personal and individual, interests” and rush to the al-Nusra and ISIL’s aid “before the Syrian army conquers the strategic al-Aeis heights”, warning that the government troops will prevail over all militants’ positions in Northern Syria soon if their all-out advances in Aleppo are not brought to a halt.

Sheikh Abdullah al-Muhsini stands at the highest ranks of the al-Nusra Front command. When the group leader, Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, moved to the countryside of Hama where Joulani spoke to nearly 1,500 fighters before they headed to battle in Mhardeh, several years ago, the general military commander of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abou Hammam as-Suri, and Sheikh Abdullah al-Muhsini were also present during the gathering, to boost the fighters’ morale.

Al-Nusra militants said Hama is of strategic importance to the terrorist group as it connects the countryside of Hama to the countryside of Idlib, which al-Nusra desired to make its new stronghold after it lost the Eastern parts of Syria.

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Yahoo News

AFP

 

Egyptians smoke water-pipes under a banner bearing portraits of candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Giza district of the capital, Cairo, on October 14, 2015
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Cairo (AFP) – One party — the banned Muslim Brotherhood — will be conspicuously absent from ballot papers Sunday when Egypt’s voters head to the polls for long-delayed parliamentary elections.

What had been Egypt’s main opposition group for decades fell foul of the authorities after army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and was elected to succeed him last year.

Since overthrowing the senior Brotherhood figure, Sisi has overseen a deadly crackdown on the group in which hundreds were killed and thousands jailed, including most of the group’s leaders.

The Brotherhood’s disappearance from the public political scene is a far cry from a group, then officially banned but tolerated, which fielded candidates in parliamentary elections under former president Hosni Mubarak.

Then, campaigning under its own name, the Brotherhood took a whopping 44 percent of seats in the first free democratic elections following Mubarak’s ouster in 2011.

That parliament was dissolved in June 2012, but the Brotherhood’s popularity shone through days later when Morsi, a civilian, was elected, putting an end to six decades of presidents coming from military ranks.

But while it has been wrested from Egypt’s political arena, analysts say this is unlikely to be the last voters see of the Brotherhood.

“The Brotherhood will stay outside the political game as long as President Sisi is in power,” said Hazem Hosny, professor of political science at Cairo University.

“The Brotherhood and the regime have gone too far in their confrontation.”

Meanwhile, Sisi supporters are widely expected to sweep the parliamentary elections.

– History of repression –

 

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Egyptian soldiers in the capital, Cairo (20 February 2014) Judges accused the defendants of inciting violence against the army and police

 

 

An Egyptian court has sentenced 26 people to death for founding a “terror group” with the aim of attacking ships using the Suez Canal.

 

Judges said the men were also accused of manufacturing missiles and explosives, local media report.

 

The defendants were tried in absentia, Reuters news agency says.

 

The sentencing comes a day after the new Prime Minister designate, Ibrahim Mahlab, vowed he would “crush terrorism in all the corners of the country”.

 

Mr Mahlab has been put in charge of forming a new government following Monday’s surprise resignation of interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi and his cabinet.

 

Mr Beblawi was appointed in July 2013 after the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in the wake of mass protests.

 

Since then, more than 1,000 people have been killed and thousands of others detained in a crackdown by the security forces on the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement to which Mr Morsi belongs.

 

Militants based in the Sinai peninsula have meanwhile stepped up attacks on government, police and the armed forces, killing hundreds.

‘Harmed unity’

In Wednesday’s verdict, the court said the accused had harmed “national unity”, inciting violence against the army, police, and Christians.

 

The case will now be referred to the mufti, Egypt’s top Islamic official, who has to validate the sentence.

 

The final verdict is expected on 19 March.

 

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Supporters of Mohamed Morsi, as well as activists opposed to authoritarianism of Morsi and General Sisi, took part in protests

Egypt protests

Mourners carry the coffin of a man killed during Saturday’s clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo. Photograph: Ahmed Omar/AP

Standing in the forecourt of Cairo’s Zeinhom mortuary, waiting to pick up the corpse of his friend, Amr Hussein could scarcely believe he was there. “I thought we were done with this,” said Hussein, 23. “I thought the revolution would be the start of a new era.”

Hussein’s classmate, Mohamed Yehia, was shot dead by police on Saturday, the third anniversary of the Egyptian uprising – a day that was meant to be a celebration.

But for many it was instead one of protest and mourning, with officials confirming on Sunday that 49 people had been killed in nationwide protests against the regime installed last July by the army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Fierce clashes raged in several neighbourhoods across the country, with armoured police vehicles charging at protesters in downtown Cairo.

Supporters of Egypt‘s ousted Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, as well as activists opposed to the authoritarianism of both Morsi and Sisi, took part – and 1,079 people were arrested.

“This is not the Egypt that we are looking for,” said Ayman Abdelmeguid, a spokesman for the 6 April group, the secular youth movement that organised many of the first protests against Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Violence of a different kind continued on Sunday in the Sinai peninsular, where Islamist extremists ambushed and killed three policemen. It continued a militant surge against security forces that saw four bombs explode in Cairo on Friday, and an army helicopter allegedly shot down on Saturday.

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The New York Times

Clashes Kill 49 Egyptians on Uprising’s Anniversary

CAIRO — Thousands of Egyptians celebrated the third anniversary of their revolt against autocracy on Saturday by holding a rally for the military leader who ousted the country’s first democratically elected president. Elsewhere, at least 49 people died in clashes with security forces at rival antigovernment protests organized by Islamists and left-leaning activists.

In at least on-e case, the Islamists and liberals chanted against each other. But within as little as 15 minutes, riot police officers began firing tear-gas cannons and shooting guns into the air, swiftly dispersing the protests and leaving the day to the military leader, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

The violence escalated as the day went on. The Way of the Revolution Front, a group opposed to the Islamists as well as the military takeover, urged its supporters to retreat from the streets in the face of what it called “the excessive force that police are using against whoever tries to express their opinion.”

By Sunday morning, health officials said the death toll from clashes with the police had reached at least 49, most killed in the Cairo area. Security officials said more than 1,000 were arrested around the country. By Saturday night, more than 430 had been arrested in greater Cairo alone.

In the canal city of Suez, a car bomb at a police camp wounded four officers, officials said, the latest in a campaign of attacks on security forces since the military takeover. The violence on Saturday came a day after four bombings around the capital killed at least six people and clashes with the police killed another eight. But the government appeared determined to prevent any of the protests or deaths from dimming the spectacle of the rally for General Sisi, or the momentum of his presumed presidential campaign.

The enthusiasm of his supporters, however, also hinted at some of the outsize expectations he might face in office.

Hassan Shehab, 52, a shopkeeper carrying a poster of a son killed by security forces during the 2011 uprising, said he believed General Sisi would “turn Egypt from a third-world country to a first-world country” while bringing justice for the revolution’s “martyrs.”

“He will hold the police accountable and put them on trial, as soon as they get rid of the terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Mr. Shehab said.

The Brotherhood, an eight-decades-old Islamist organization, sponsored the most successful party in Egypt’s free elections in 2011 and 2012. Its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, became president and held that position until he was ousted by the military in July amid swelling street protests against him.

The military has been portraying the Brotherhood as a terrorist threat ever since. On Friday, government officials quickly blamed it for the day’s four bombings.

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In this image made from video broadcast on Egyptian State Television, Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour speaks at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014.
Elizabeth Arrott

The plan was unveiled one day after clashes between police and protesters left 49 people killed, hundreds wounded and more than 1,000 arrested.

Interim President Adly Mansour’s decision to hold the presidential election next was widely expected.

While last year’s road map placed parliamentary elections first, the newly approved constitution allows Mansour to decide which comes first.

Other candidates who have expressed interest in running have qualified their bids, saying they would not take part if General Sissi campaigns.

Posters, masks and signs heralding Sissi’s leadership were at the center of celebrations of the third anniversary of Egypt’s revolution Saturday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

But just off the square, as well as across Cairo and the country, opponents to the general and the military-backed interim government turned out for rallies and marches.

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An Egyptian woman wears a mask of Egypt's Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2014.An Egyptian woman wears a mask of Egypt’s Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2014.
A protester wounded in clashes with security forces is evacuated from the site in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.A protester wounded in clashes with security forces is evacuated from the site in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.

Change to the post-Morsi political timetable could pave way for swift election of Sisi.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood protest in Egypt, December 27, 2013.

Egypt women Brotherhood protesting 370 Photo: REUTERS

CAIRO- Egypt will hold a presidential vote before parliamentary polls, President Adly Mansour said on Sunday, in a change to a political roadmap that could pave the way for the swift election of army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Parliamentary elections were supposed to be held first under the timetable drawn up after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July following mass protests against his rule.

The decision to revise the order of elections is likely to deepen tensions in Egypt, which is struggling to cope with waves of political violence. Forty-nine people were killed in anti-government marches on Saturday, the third anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

“I have taken my decision to amend the roadmap for the future in that we will start by holding presidential elections first followed by the parliamentary elections,” interim leader Mansour said in a televised speech.

Critics have campaigned for a change of the roadmap, saying the country needs an elected leader to direct government at a time of economic and political crisis and to forge a political alliance before potentially divisive parliamentary elections.

Sisi is expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency within days and win by a landslide. His supporters see him as a strong, decisive figure able to stabilize Egypt.

The Brotherhood accuses him of masterminding a coup and holds him responsible for widespread human rights abuses in a crackdown against the movement which has killed up to 1,000 Islamists and put top leaders behind bars.

While tough measures against the Brotherhood have nearly crippled it, security forces have failed to contain an Islamist insurgency. Militant attacks have raised fears for the stability of Egypt, of great strategic importance because of its peace treaty with Israel and control over the Suez Canal.

EXPECTED MOVE

A new constitution voted in earlier this month cleared the way for a change in the order of the elections by leaving open the question of which should come first.

“It was an expected move amid the growing signs that Sisi is being groomed to become the next president,” said Khaled Dawoud, a well-known liberal activist.

Mansour did not announce a date for the presidential vote. The constitution says steps towards holding the first of the elections should be begin no later than 90 days from the ratification of the document in mid-January.

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Egypt’s new constitution gets 98% ‘yes’ vote

Supporters of Egypt's army chief Sisi

Egypt’s new constitution strengthens the country’s military, the police and the judiciary, as well as giving more rights to women. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

Over 98% of participants in the first Egyptian vote of the post-Morsi era voted in favour of approving a new constitution, the country’s electoral commission officially announced on Saturday.

Egypt‘s government hailed the result as a resounding show of support for the direction the country has taken since the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi last July.

“This is a wonderful day for Egypt, Egyptians and for democracy, despite the extraordinary circumstances,” a spokesman for Egypt’s interim presidency, Ehab Badawi, said in a statement ahead of the official announcement. “This vote represents a resounding rejection of terrorism and a clear endorsement of the roadmap to democracy, as well as economic development and stability.”

After a campaign in which several no-campaigners were arrested and the government said participation was a patriotic duty, the poll’s turnout is also seen as a significant indicator of the level of public support for the process.

According to officials, the turnout was a respectable 38.6% – higher than the 33% who voted in a referendum during Morsi’s tenure, but lower than the 41.9% who turned out in a similar poll following Egypt’s 2011 uprising.

Egypt’s new constitution strengthens the country’s three key institutions – the military, the police and the judiciary. It also gives more rights to women and disabled people, and removes certain Islamist-leaning clauses inserted under Morsi, while maintaining the principles of Islamic sharia as the main source of legislation.

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VOA

 

Protesters throw stones during clashes with riot police close to a tax office in Ettadhamen, Tunisia, 5 kms (3 miles) from Tunis, Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. Protesters throw stones during clashes with riot police close to a tax office in Ettadhamen, Tunisia, 5 kms (3 miles) from Tunis, Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.

 
Reuters

Scattered protests over economic hardships have broken out as Tunisia’s new prime minister takes office to lead a caretaker administration to end a crisis three years after its uprising ousted Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

Tunisia’s 2011 revolt and the region-wide Arab Spring uprisings were triggered by a street vendor in Sidi Bouzid setting himself alight in an act of protest.

After months of crisis, the Islamist party which came to power after the revolt resigned this week to make way for Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa’s technocrat government until elections this year to complete Tunisia’s democratic transition.

Many Tunisians are more worried about the high cost of living, jobs and economic development. Protesters have taken to the streets this week in southern cities to protest against fiscal reforms including a vehicle tax hike.

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FILE - An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows Egypt's army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a live broadcast calling for public rallies  to give him a mandate to fight "terrorism and violence."

FILE – An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows Egypt’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a live broadcast calling for public rallies to give him a mandate to fight “terrorism and violence.”

William Eagle

In recent weeks, Egypt’s military-backed government has introduced new measures to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood.  It has labeled the group a terrorist organization, and has also detained Al Jazeerah journalists said to be backing them.  Civil libertarians have criticized the moves.  But others say they’re necessary as the country heads toward a constitutional referendum and elections.

Despite the measures, protests continue in some towns and universities.

One Egyptian analyst says the crackdown is working — and that protests to reinstate ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi have become smaller and less frequent.

Gamal Soltan, an associate professor of political science at American University in Cairo, questions the designation of protesters as students or journalists.

“ [When we mention] students or journalists,” he asserted, “we are talking about non-ideological groups.  But [these] students, they are actually Muslim Brothers, and unfortunately, Al Jazeerah has been an integral part of the conflict in Egypt. It has taken sides. The situation has changed, and it is now on the wrong side.”

He says reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood is out of the question for the time being.  He says the government’s policy is to redefine political Islam – by excluding the Brotherhood but allowing Islamic moderates such as the Al-Nour party to be on the ballot for parliament.

Soltan says people want stability.

An Egyptian pritzel vender sits next to copies of the new constitution sold on a street in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013.An Egyptian pretzel vender sits next to copies of the new constitution sold on a street in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013.

“The majority of the people,” he said, “tend to support the new constitution and want to restore normalcy.  Most are hungry for a kind of a strongman, a strong government to be able to bring order and peace and to put the economy back on track.”

Constitutional referendum

Said Sadek, an affiliate professor of political sociology at American University, says the Muslim Brotherhood is using protests and riots to derail the referendum.

“If there is a high turnout like 25 million out of 50 million,” he says, “this would be the official death certificate for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Morsi regime.  The Muslim Brotherhood has been in existence since 1928; its failure would affect other movements in the Islamic world.”

Temporary measures

Sadek says the government’s increased powers to detain and arrest are temporary, and may well change when, in his view, the Brotherhood is defeated.

“We are in exceptional circumstances,” he says, “and you must take lots of measures.  Our neighboring countries are failing states and now there’s an internal organization that wants to destroy our army and police to exert whatever [power] they like through their secret militias…there are no human rights for those who don’t believe in human rights.”

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A man stands outside a faculty building at Cairo's Al-Azhar University after students stormed it on December 28, 2013.
A man stands outside a faculty building at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University after students stormed it on December 28, 2013.
Edward Yeranian

According to reports by Reuters news agency and state media,

Workers used fire extinguishers to douse a blaze inside an office at the Azhar University School of Commerce Saturday. The facade of the structure and at least half a dozen offices were gutted by fires that appeared to have been deliberately set.

​Police arrested at least 60 alleged Islamists after the fire.

The dean of the school of commerce tries to assure students that exams will go ahead as scheduled.

Witnesses, however, say the fires forced their cancellation at the school of commerce, although exams in other departments have continued.

Some students loyal to former President Mohamed Morsi have called for a boycott of exams this month at Azhar University and have frequently protested on the campus.

Saturday, police fired tear gas at protesters on the campus. An interior ministry spokesman told state TV that police were trying to prevent anyone from disrupting exams.

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Crisis in Egypt: One dead, dozens arrested after Islamist students torch Cairo university building

Updated Sun 29 Dec 2013, 1:11am AEDT

A student was killed and 60 arrested as Egyptian police entered a Cairo university to confront Islamist protesters who torched a building, amid an intensifying crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, officials said.

The unrest followed nationwide repression of Islamist protests on Friday after the military-installed government listed the Brotherhood, the movement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, as a terrorist organisation.

A hospital official said a 19-year-old student was shot dead in the clashes at the Al-Azhar University campus, where pro-Morsi students have regularly staged protests since his overthrow by the army in July.

The students had entered the commerce faculty during an exam and set it alight, before police burst into the campus and fired tear gas.

A police official said 60 of the students were arrested after the fire on the first two floors of the building was brought under control.

 

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