Iraqi court sentences Al-Qaeda leader’s sister to death

Iraqi security forces that fight terrorism can be seen in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Iraqi court sentences Al-Qaeda leader’s sister to death

BAGHDAD: A Baghdad court has convicted the sister of the former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq who was killed in 2010 and sentenced her to death on terrorism charges, a spokesman said Thursday.
The spokesman of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, said in a statement that Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi’s sister was found guilty for “offering logistic support and help to (the militants) in carrying out criminal acts.”
The woman, whose name was not released, was also found guilty of “distributing money” among the militants in Mosul. He didn’t give more details on the charges and what years she cooperated with Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Bayrkdar said the woman’s husband was earlier also sentenced to death as a member of the Al-Qaeda leadership.
Al-Baghdadi was killed in April 2010, along with Abu Ayyub Al-Masri, another prominent Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, in a US-Iraqi joint operation.
Thursday’s statement by Bayrkdar initially said the convicted woman was the sister Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of Daesh, but the spokesman later issued a correction, saying she is Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi’s sister.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq was the parent group from which Daesh emerged.
In mid-2014, Daesh controlled vast areas in northern and western Iraq, including Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul, which was under the militants’ rule for more than three years.
Iraq declared victory over Daesh last December, after driving the militants from northern and central Iraq. Hundreds of women, including foreigners, were arrested in the sweep. Since then, Iraq’s Central Criminal Court has issued number of sentences against Daesh women, ranging from years in prison to death by hanging.
Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts remain unknown. Rumors have surfaced on several occasions of his death and injuries in airstrikes and fighting in both Iraq and Syria, territories where Daesh had declared a “caliphate,” though there was never anything to back them up.
He is believed to be in his mid-40s, and was seen in public only once when he declared himself the leader of Daesh from a historic mosque in Mosul, just a few weeks after Daesh captured the city in the summer of 2014, along with entire swaths of northern and western Iraq.
Since then, he has only released audio messages to his followers from time to time, urging them to keep on fighting.


Libya recovers five bodies, picks up 185 migrants

A total of 900 migrants have been intercepted or rescued by the Libyan navy since Wednesday. (AFP/File)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Libya recovers five bodies, picks up 185 migrants

  • The bodies were recovered from an inflatable boat packed with migrants that got into trouble
  • Two coast guard patrols carried out different operations on Friday, picking up 91 migrants in one group and 94 in the second

Tripoli: Libyan coast guards have recovered the bodies of five migrants and picked up 185 survivors off its western coast, a spokesman said on Saturday.

The migrants, who were rescued about 24 km off the town of Qarabulli, were trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in two boats, the Libyan navy said Saturday. Those who lost their lives were from Sudan, Nigeria, Chad and Egypt.

The bodies were recovered from an inflatable boat packed with migrants that got into trouble, the coast guard spokesman Ayoub Qassem told Reuters.

A day earlier, three children and nine women were among 94 migrants rescued on Friday when their inflatable dinghy sank 12 nautical miles from Garabulli, east of the capital Tripoli.

“The migrants are from different sub-Saharan countries including three children and nine women,” he said.

Two coast guard patrols carried out different operations on Friday, picking up 91 migrants in one group and 94 in the second, Qassem said.

A total of 900 migrants have been intercepted or rescued by the Libyan navy since Wednesday as departures pick up due to favorable weather.

Usually in such cases the migrants are taken to detention centers pending repatriation.

Libya’s western coast is the main departure point for migrants fleeing wars and poverty and trying to reach Europe, although the number of crossings has sharply dropped since last July due to a more active coast guard presence with support from the EU.

Libya descended into chaos following the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with many armed groups and two administrations vying for power.

Most migrants try to head across the Mediterranean toward Italy, hoping they will be picked up by ships run by aid groups and taken there, although many drown before they are rescued.

Earlier this month, Italy’s anti-immigrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, vowed to no longer let charity ships offload rescued migrants in Italy, leaving one ship stranded at sea for several days with more than 600 migrants until Spain offered them safe haven.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will try on Sunday to persuade other EU leaders to agree on a common policy on migrants, although her chances of winning support from all 28 member states are deemed slim.