Arson attacks hit Turkish community sites in Germany

German police arrests a protestor during clashes following a demonstration against Turkey's offensive against Kurds in Syria's Afrin region, in this March 11, 2018 photo, at the airport in Duesseldorf. (AFP)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Arson attacks hit Turkish community sites in Germany

BERLIN: Arsonists on Monday struck a Turkish community center in Germany, the latest in a string of attacks which Turkey has sometimes blamed on Kurdish militants amid its military offensive in northern Syria.
Unknown attackers hurled incendiary devices at the center in the town of Ahlen, police said, also telling national news agency DPA they were not ruling out a political motive.
At the weekend Molotov cocktails were thrown at Turkish community mosques in Berlin and the town of Lauffen, a cultural center in Meschede and a Turkish vegetable shop in Itzehoe, where the windows of a mosque were also smashed.
No one was wounded in the attacks.
Police arrested three Syrian men, who denied involvement, after the Meschede attack, DPA reported.
The attacks came on a weekend that saw several demonstrations against Turkey’s military operation to oust the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the Afrin region of northern Syria.
Pro-Kurdish demonstrators rallied in Hamburg Saturday, where rocks were thrown at the Turkish Consulate, and on Sunday at Duesseldorf airport some protesters scuffled with police who employed pepper spray.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry voiced “deep concern” about the attacks and said on Sunday that the incident in Lauffen had been claimed by a group affiliated with the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
It added that there had been “a considerable increase in the number of attacks against Turkish mosques in Germany recently by racist and Islamophobic groups as well as the PKK terrorist organization.”
“We expect the perpetrators of these attacks to be caught as soon as possible and brought to justice and necessary measures to be taken by the German authorities to prevent the recurrence of such attacks.”


Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Updated 49 min 4 sec ago
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Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

  • The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh
  • This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory”

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s military said Saturday its troops in partnership with security agencies and paramilitary forces launched the second phase of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of the Daesh group from north of Baghdad and surrounding areas.
This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two weeks earlier and targeted the area along the border with Syria. The military said the new target area is north of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Although Iraq declared victory against Daesh in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and continue to carry out deadly attacks in the country.
The military said Iraqi troops, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the federal police and others are taking part in the operation supported by the Iraqis and the U.S-led international coalition.
On Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi visited the operation room alongside the deputy head of the PMF, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi government moved to place the Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces. The move was believed to be an attempt to curb the powerful militias, particularly amid rising tension between Iran and the US, the power brokers in Iraq.
The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh and are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament.