Erdogan government slammed after Daesh members revealed as Turkish nationals

Erdogan government slammed after Daesh members revealed as Turkish nationals
Leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu gestures during his party's group meeting in Ankara. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 17 April 2021

Erdogan government slammed after Daesh members revealed as Turkish nationals

Erdogan government slammed after Daesh members revealed as Turkish nationals
  • Daesh, which has been listed as a terror group by Turkey since 2013, has carried out several bloody terror attacks in the country, with at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks, and four armed attacks

JEDDAH: Turkey’s main opposition the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has demanded a thorough investigation after a group of Daesh members were revealed to be Turkish nationals.

The CHP has revealed the details of the recent decision of the government to freeze the assets of 365 individuals and 12 companies linked to terror groups.

The Treasury and Finance Ministry announced last week that the assets of members of terror groups, including Daesh, have been blocked.

The list of individuals whose assets were confiscated was published in the Official Gazette No. 31447, but eight of these individuals were shockingly listed as Turkish nationals with tax numbers attached.

These individuals — Ziad Alzhouri, Hasan Krayem, Hasan Maher Abdullah Abdullah, Mohamad Qassem, Fayez Alfliti, Saad Ali Saad Saad, Salim Ahmet Bakr Abboosh, and Yusuf El Ali Elhasan — are mostly from Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon.

With a parliamentary inquiry, CHP’s Ankara deputy Tekin Bingol asked the government to investigate the matter seriously and transparently.

“These people are traveling freely within Turkish territories, they are conducting trade activities. And we notice this when their assets are frozen,” Bingol said.

Daesh, which has been listed as a terror group by Turkey since 2013, has carried out several bloody terror attacks in the country, with at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks, and four armed attacks. Daesh killed 315 people and injured hundreds in the attacks.

Bingol said that the authorities should expose those who provided these people with citizenship rights, adding: “Those who are coming to our country and getting privileges should be thoroughly investigated for their involvement in terror attacks. Otherwise, the local networks they are involved with are likely to generate new terror attacks.”

“These Daesh militants have the blood of our 103 citizens on their hands,” he said, referring to the twin suicide bombing attack carried out by Daesh on a rally near Ankara’s main train station on Oct. 10, 2015.

The CHP is demanding the government explains how foreign militants are provided with Turkish identity cards. The party has requested that the government reveals all trade relations that the Daesh members conducted with their tax numbers.

“How were they allowed to conduct trade activities? Which goods did they trade? How did they find the money to manage their business? Those who are responsible should immediately be punished,” Bingol said in his address to the Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Treasury and Finance Minister Lutfi Elvan.

In recent weeks, Turkish police forces have conducted countrywide anti-terror operations and arrested dozens of Daesh suspects, including foreign fighters.

Official figures show that some 2,000 people have been arrested and 7,000 others deported in anti-Daesh operations in Turkey over the past three years.

 


EU’s Borell says Iran nuclear talks moving to crucial stage

Josep Borrell is chairing the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna. (AFP/File Photo)
Josep Borrell is chairing the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 14 min 51 sec ago

EU’s Borell says Iran nuclear talks moving to crucial stage

Josep Borrell is chairing the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna. (AFP/File Photo)
  • “I am optimistic,” EU foreign affairs chief said

VIENNA: Negotiations in Vienna between world powers and Iran are moving into a crucial stage and the next few weeks will be critical to saving their 2015 nuclear deal, the European Union's top diplomat said on Monday.

US officials returned to Vienna last week for a fourth round of indirect talks with Iran on how to resume compliance with the deal, which former US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, prompting Iran to begin violating its limits on uranium enrichment about a year later.

“I am optimistic, there is a window of opportunity that will stay open for a couple of weeks, (until) end of the month,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, who is chairing the talks, told a news conference in Brussels.

“But a lot of work is needed, time is limited and I hope that the negotiations will enter into a phase of nonstop (talks) in Vienna,” he said following a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

The crux of the 2015 agreement was that Iran committed to rein in its uranium enrichment program to make it harder to obtain the fissile material for a nuclear weapon, in return for relief from US, EU and UN sanctions.

Tehran denies having nuclear weapons ambitions.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas described the negotiations as tough and laborious, but added that all participants were conducting them in a constructive atmosphere.

“However, time is running out. We aim for the full restoration of the Iran nuclear deal as this is the only way to guarantee that Iran will not be able to come into possession of nuclear weapons,” Maas said in Brussels. 


Hamas claims rocket attacks on Israel after clashes in Jerusalem

Hamas claims rocket attacks on Israel after clashes in Jerusalem
Updated 18 min 10 sec ago

Hamas claims rocket attacks on Israel after clashes in Jerusalem

Hamas claims rocket attacks on Israel after clashes in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM: Hamas said it fired rockets at Israel on Monday, triggering warning sirens in Jerusalem and near the Gaza border, in an apparent response by the militant group to the injury of more than 300 Palestinians in clashes with Israeli police outside al Aqsa mosque.
Hamas, an Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, had given Israel an ultimatum to stand down its forces at al Aqsa and another Jerusalem flashpoint by 6 p.m. (1500 GMT).
Minutes after the deadline passed, sirens blared in Jerusalem and several explosions were heard. Hamas claimed responsibility, and there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
After Hamas, which last fought a war with Israel in 2014, issued the ultimatum, Israel's military announced it was suspending for a day a major exercise, citing possible "escalation scenarios".
Earlier, as Israel marked the anniversary of its capture of parts of Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at hundreds of Palestinians who hurled rocks at them at al Aqsa. The violence had died down by the time Hamas issued the ultimatum.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said at least 305 Palestinians were injured, and 228 of them were taken to hospital, in the skirmishes at al Aqsa, situated in a compound holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians. It said several were in critical condition. Police said 21 officers were injured.
Recent clashes in Jerusalem have raised international concern about wider conflict, and the White House called on Israel to ensure calm during "Jerusalem Day".


Tensions mount on Gaza border with Israel

Tensions mount on Gaza border with Israel
Updated 10 May 2021

Tensions mount on Gaza border with Israel

Tensions mount on Gaza border with Israel
  • A number of rockets fired from Gaza toward Israeli towns on Sunday evening and Monday morning were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system
  • The Israeli army responded to the attacks by bombing sites belonging to Palestinian factions in Gaza

GAZA CITY: Tensions on the Gaza Strip border with Israel on Monday continued to mount following recent violent confrontations at Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.

A number of rockets fired from Gaza toward Israeli towns on Sunday evening and Monday morning were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system and no injuries were reported. Incendiary balloons were also launched toward Israel.

The Israeli army responded to the attacks by bombing sites belonging to Palestinian factions in Gaza.

Night demonstrations also resumed along the border in support of several Palestinian families threatened with eviction from their homes in Jerusalem and as part of the so-called March of Return protests that have gone on for two years.

Mohammed Deif, commander-in-chief of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas in Gaza, recently warned that the resistance would “not stand idly by” and that Israel would “pay a dear price” if it continued with its actions against Palestinians.

He said the brigades’ leadership was “watching what is happening (in Sheikh Jarrah) closely” while saluting “our steadfast people in occupied Jerusalem.”

Deif has been on Israel’s wanted list for more than two decades and has been accused of being behind numerous military operations against the country. He has survived several assassination attempts, the most recent being during the 2014 Gaza war.

Jerusalem has recently witnessed violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protestors over eviction plans to give Palestinian homes in the city suburb to Jewish settlers.

In East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, Palestinians feel an increasing threat from settlers who have sought to expand the Jewish presence there by buying properties, constructing new buildings, and through court-ordered evictions.

Meanwhile, Israel has suspended Palestinian fishing rights off Gaza over the incendiary balloon attacks which it blamed on Hamas.

A statement on Sunday issued by the coordinator of the Israeli government’s activities in the Palestinian Territories, said: “It has been decided to close the fishing distance in the Gaza Strip, and the decision will take effect immediately, and will continue until further notice.”

On Monday, the Israelis also announced the complete closure of the Erez border crossing. Israeli Army Radio said: “Hamas in Gaza is making an extensive effort to ignite the situation. On the other hand, we are ready on all fronts. I advise them not to give us a try.”

Speaking at a recent Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I tell the terrorist organizations that Israel will respond forcefully to any rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.”

Mustafa Ibrahim, a columnist, told Arab News that the current escalation in tensions was calculated both by Hamas and Israel.

He said: “At this stage, it seems that Hamas is well aware that the conditions are not conducive to escalating toward a military confrontation with Gaza. Therefore, the rockets fired from Gaza have a short range ... and also the current Israeli response to them does not indicate that it wants to expand the confrontation.

“The somewhat positive reactions from the international community toward Jerusalem seem to have curbed the harsh reaction by the Palestinian factions in Gaza.

“Any developments in Jerusalem and the West Bank may always push Gaza into a military confrontation that may be limited and may be wide. But it seems that we have not reached a broad confrontation this time,” he added.


UN says 5 migrants downed; over 700 intercepted off Libya

UN says 5 migrants downed; over 700 intercepted off Libya
Updated 10 May 2021

UN says 5 migrants downed; over 700 intercepted off Libya

UN says 5 migrants downed; over 700 intercepted off Libya

CAIRO: At least five people, including a woman and a child, drowned when a boat carrying at least 45 Europe-bound migrants capsized off Libya, a UN migration official said on Monday. The wreck was the latest disaster in the Mediterranean Sea involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe.
Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration, said the wreck took place on Sunday. She said fishermen rescued 40 migrants and returned them to the shore.
Msehli said the boat was among nine others carrying more than 700 migrants intercepted Sunday by the Libyan coast guard off the coast of the North African country.
The intercepted migrants were taken to overcrowded detention centers, where the UN migration agency fears more threats to their lives and violations of their rights, she said.
There has been a spike in crossings and attempted crossings from Libya in recent weeks, with smugglers taking advantage of the calm sea and warm weather.
Federico Soda, head of IOM in Libya, said he was “extremely concerned” about the spike in migrant departure from Libya and “the continuous loss of life.”
“The situation cannot be ignored, and states must live up to their responsibilities and redeploy search and rescue vessels,” he tweeted.
Libya has in recent years emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. The oil-rich country plunged into chaos following a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Earlier this month, at least 11 Europe-bound migrants drowned when a rubber dinghy carrying two dozen people capsized off Libya. That followed another tragedy in April where at least 130 migrants were presumed dead, in one of the deadliest maritime tragedies in years along the busy route.
Around 7,000 Europe-bound migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya so far this year, according to the IOM’s tally.
Smugglers often pack desperate families into ill-equipped rubber boats that stall and founder along the perilous Central Mediterranean route. Over the last several years, hundreds of thousands of migrants have reached Europe either on their own or after being rescued at sea.
Thousands have drowned along the way. Others were intercepted and returned to Libya to be left at the mercy of armed groups or confined in squalid detention centers that lack adequate food and water, according to rights groups.


UAE to bar travel from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka from Wednesday

UAE to bar travel from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka from Wednesday
Updated 10 May 2021

UAE to bar travel from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka from Wednesday

UAE to bar travel from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka from Wednesday
  • Part of measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates will bar entry for travelers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka starting Wednesday, as part of measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority said on its website on Monday.

“Flights between the four countries will continue to allow the transport of passengers from the UAE to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka,” it said.

The UAE announced last month a ban on entry from India to guard against the spread of the highly contagious Indian variant of the coronavirus.