Iraqi Kurds say 4,000 terrorists detained including foreigners

Dindar Zebari, the coordinator of the government of Kurdistan region of Iraq in the United Nations. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Iraqi Kurds say 4,000 terrorists detained including foreigners

IRBIL: Authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan said Tuesday they had detained some 4,000 suspected members of the Daesh group, including foreigners, in recent years.
They include around 1,000 jihadists who surrendered during the battle for Hawija, the last Daesh urban stronghold in Iraq until its fall late last year, Iraqi Kurdish official Dindar Zibari told reporters.
He said 350 people detained in northern Iraq who admitted to belonging to Daesh had been transferred from the city of Kirkuk, retaken by federal forces in October, to Kurdish-run prisons.
Human Rights Watch said in December that hundreds of detainees held by the Iraqi Kurdish authorities in Kirkuk were feared to have been "forcibly disappeared".
"The names of all these prisoners were submitted to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, but they did not inform the families of 350 people," Zibari said.
He did not specify the number of foreigners among those arrested but said some had already been sent home, including a Japanese journalist detained in 2016 on suspicion of ties to Daesh.
Security forces from the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq have played a significant role in the war against Daesh.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in December in the three-year campaign by Iraqi forces to expel Daesh militants from the vast areas north and west of Baghdad.
His forces also took back disputed areas in the north from the Kurds after Baghdad rejected a controversial Kurdish independence vote in September.
Baghdad has called for detainees to be handed over to the federal government but that "should be done under the supervision of the United Nations," Zebari said.


Prince William on first official royal visit to Occupied Territories and Israel

On his first official visit to Israel and Palestine, Prince William is unlikely to talk about politics. Getty Images
Updated 23 June 2018
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Prince William on first official royal visit to Occupied Territories and Israel

  • The second-in-line to the British throne is due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • There is a pretty naked desire to build relationships and Israel is a warm target for an increase in trade

LONDON: Prince William will embark on the first official visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories by a member of the British royal family on Sunday.

But even with more than 120 Palestinians killed in protests in Gaza during recent weeks and controversy still surrounding the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, the second-in-line to the throne is not expected to talk politics.
Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU), told Arab News that the four-day tour is likely to focus on making trade deals in preparation for Britain’s departure from the EU next year, rather than on addressing the moribund Middle East peace process.
“There is a pretty naked desire to build relationships and Israel is a warm target for an increase in trade,” he said.
The visit risks “normalizing” the abusive regime under which Palestinians live, he added.
“Of course Prince William has to go to both the Israeli and Palestinian sectors or there would have been outrage. But there is a risk of his visit making it appear more acceptable and normal to carry out abuses of international law like the blockade of Gaza,” Doyle said.
William begins his Middle Eastern tour on Sunday in Jordan, a long-time ally of Britain. On Tuesday he will move on to Jerusalem, where he will visit Yad Vashem, the official memorial to Holocaust victims, meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and later attend a football event with a mixed Arab and Jewish team.
On Wednesday he will meet young activists, both Arab and Jewish, who are involved in education and social programs, and also cross into the Occupied Palestinian Territories to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah before attending an event focusing on Palestinian refugees.
He is due to deliver a speech at a reception hosted by the American consul in Jerusalem. However, protocol prevents him from making any remarks that might be deemed partisan. Doyle told Arab News this was a pity in view of how William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, championed justice for the oppressed.
“It is a pity that someone of his status, who clearly cares about his mother’s legacy, cannot give voice to real major concerns about the treatment of the Palestinians and the human rights abuses that are daily issues for them under Israeli control but which will be airbrushed out,” he said.
“Yes, he will see co-operative programs and Arabs and Jews playing football together, but the reality is that the Palestinian footballers can only travel to matches with Israeli permission.”
William was a surprise choice for the visit. Many expected the task to fall to his father, Prince Charles, who has more experience of countries which are politically extremely sensitive. But it is thought he was chosen because his youth chimes better with young Israelis working in hi-tech fields who he is scheduled to meet. Among Palestinians, his presence will barely register, said Doyle.
“I hope the language can be found for him to say something to his Israeli hosts, that his visit will be more than window-dressing, but the reality is it’s very unlikely. So the visit won’t register as important with Palestinians. They don’t want to be part of some tourist show or box-ticking exercise,” he said.