Philippine police kill an Abu Sayyaf militant implicated in 15 beheadings and other atrocities

In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Army 6th Infantry Division, recovered firearms from suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters are seen after a gun battle with Philippine troops at Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in Maguindanao del Sur province, southern Philippines, on April 22, 2024. (AP)
In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Army 6th Infantry Division, recovered firearms from suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters are seen after a gun battle with Philippine troops at Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in Maguindanao del Sur province, southern Philippines, on April 22, 2024. (AP)
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Updated 26 April 2024
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Philippine police kill an Abu Sayyaf militant implicated in 15 beheadings and other atrocities

Philippine police kill an Abu Sayyaf militant implicated in 15 beheadings and other atrocities
  • A confidential police report said that Abdulsaid had been implicated in at least 15 beheadings in Basilan, including of 10 Philippine marines in Al-Barka town in 2007 and two of six kidnapped Vietnamese sailors near Sumisip town in 2016

MANILA: Philippine forces killed an Abu Sayyaf militant, who had been implicated in past beheadings, including of 10 Filipino marines and two kidnapped Vietnamese, in a clash in the south, police officials said Friday.
Philippine police, backed by military intelligence agents, killed Nawapi Abdulsaid in a brief gunbattle Wednesday night in the remote coastal town of Hadji Mohammad Ajul on Basilan island after weeks of surveillance, security officials said.
Abu Sayyaf is a small but violent armed Muslim group, which has been blacklisted by the US and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for ransom kidnappings, beheadings, bombings and other bloody attacks. It has been considerably weakened by battle setbacks, surrenders and infighting, but remains a security threat particularly in the southern Philippines, home to minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.
Abdulsaid, who used the nom de guerre Khatan, was one of several Abu Sayyaf militants who aligned themselves with the Daesh group.
A confidential police report said that Abdulsaid had been implicated in at least 15 beheadings in Basilan, including of 10 Philippine marines in Al-Barka town in 2007 and two of six kidnapped Vietnamese sailors near Sumisip town in 2016. The Vietnamese were seized from a passing cargo ship.
He was also involved in attacks against government forces in 2022 and a bombing in November that killed two pro-government militiamen and wounded two others in Basilan, the report said.
Abdulsaid was placed under surveillance in February, but police forces couldn’t immediately move to make a arrest because of the “hostile nature” of the area where he was eventually gunned down, according to the report.
On Monday, Philippine troops killed the leader of another Muslim rebel group and 11 of his men blamed for past bombings and extortion in a separate clash in a marshy hinterland in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in southern Maguindanao del Sur province, the military said.
Seven soldiers were wounded in the clash with the members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
The Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters are among a few small armed groups still struggling to wage a separatist uprising in the southern Philippines.
The largest armed separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, signed a 2014 peace pact with the government that eased decades of sporadic fighting.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel commanders became parliamentarians and administrators of a five-province Muslim autonomous region in a transition arrangement after signing the peace deal. They are preparing for a regular election scheduled for next year.

 


Demonstrators stage mass protest against Netanyahu visit and US military aid to Israel

Demonstrators stage mass protest against Netanyahu visit and US military aid to Israel
Updated 33 sec ago
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Demonstrators stage mass protest against Netanyahu visit and US military aid to Israel

Demonstrators stage mass protest against Netanyahu visit and US military aid to Israel
  • Netanyahu arrived in Washington Monday for a several-day visit that includes meetings with President Joe Biden and a Wednesday speech before a joint session of Congress

WASHINGTON: Protesters against the Gaza war staged a sit-in at a congressional office building Tuesday ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’ s address to Congress, and Capitol Police made multiple arrests.
Netanyahu arrived in Washington Monday for a several-day visit that includes meetings with President Joe Biden and a Wednesday speech before a joint session of Congress. Dozens of protesters rallied outside his hotel Monday evening, and on Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of demonstrators took over the rotunda of the Cannon Building, which houses offices of House of Representatives members.
Organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, protesters wearing identical red T-shirts that read “Not In Our Name” took over the Rotunda of the Cannon Building, chanting “Let Gaza Live!”
After about a half-hour of clapping and chanting, officers from the US Capitol Police issued several warnings, then began arresting protesters — binding their hands with zip ties and leading them away one by one.


Chad repatriates 157 nationals detained in Libya

Chad repatriates 157 nationals detained in Libya
Updated 8 min 49 sec ago
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Chad repatriates 157 nationals detained in Libya

Chad repatriates 157 nationals detained in Libya
  • Chad’s foreign ministry did not say why they had been arrested
  • It added that more repatriation flights would follow in the coming weeks

N’DJAMENA: Chad repatriated 157 of its citizens who had been detained in neighboring Libya on Tuesday, working in partnership with the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Libyan state, its foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Chadian nationals were flown back to the Sahel country on a special flight, the statement said.

It did not say why the Chadians had been arrested but added that more repatriation flights would follow in the coming weeks in order to “release and repatriate” all Chadians still detained in the North African country, and said that a “diaspora conference” would be organized in the coming days.

The repatriation flight comes a week after President Mahamat Idriss Deby attended an international forum on trans-Mediterranean migration in Libya.

Deby, who seized power after rebels killed his father in 2021, was sworn in as president in May following a controversial election. 


Macron says Israeli athletes ‘welcome’ for Paris Olympics

Macron says Israeli athletes ‘welcome’ for Paris Olympics
Updated 22 min 6 sec ago
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Macron says Israeli athletes ‘welcome’ for Paris Olympics

Macron says Israeli athletes ‘welcome’ for Paris Olympics

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Israeli athletes were “welcome” for the Paris Olympics, rejecting calls from some left-wing French MPs and the Palestinian Olympic Committee for a boycott.

“Israeli athletes are welcome in our country. They must be able to compete under their colors because the Olympic movement has decided it,” he told France 2 television in an interview, adding that it was “France’s responsibility to provide them with security.”

“I condemn in the strongest possible way all those who create risks for these athletes and implicitly threaten them,” he said.

He added that Israel had “the right to defend itself” but called the continuing bombardment of Gaza — where 39,090 people have died, according to the latest estimate from the Hamas-run health ministry — “unacceptable.”

“France was one of the first countries in Europe to call for a ceasefire,” he added.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has confirmed he will attend the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, and Macron said Prime Minister Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu would also be “welcome” but was not expected because he is in the United States.

Discussing the opening ceremony for the Paris Games as helicopters could be heard in the background hovering over the capital, Macron said that “we will all see on Friday night why it was worth the hassle.”

Much of central Paris is off-limits ahead of the ceremony along the river Seine, with 45,000 members of the security forces set to be on duty as well as 10,000 soldiers to prevent any incident that would ruin the show.

“There is a security challenge and it’s true for all capitals which organize the Games,” Macron said. “It’s true for the opening ceremony. It will be true for the whole of the Games.”

“We need to come together as France that is welcoming the world,” added the centrist, who called snap elections in June that have led to political deadlock in parliament.

Asked about the artists set to perform on Friday evening, he said it would be “fantastic news” if Quebec-born singer Celine Dion could take part, but he declined to confirm her presence.

Dion has been spotted in Paris, while video of Lady Gaga in the City of Light has also fueled rumors that she might be one of the top international performers.


Macron rejects left-wing alliance’s effort to name a prime minister

Macron rejects left-wing alliance’s effort to name a prime minister
Updated 23 July 2024
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Macron rejects left-wing alliance’s effort to name a prime minister

Macron rejects left-wing alliance’s effort to name a prime minister
  • France’s leftist New Popular Front coalition, which won the largest number of seats in parliament in elections this month proposed financial crime specialist Lucie Castets
  • When asked about Castets, who is unknown to the public, Macron told France 2: “The issue is: Which majority can emerge at the (National) Assembly?“

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday his outgoing government will remain in place until mid-August while France hosts the Olympic Games, dismissing an effort by a left-wing alliance to name a prime minister.
France’s leftist New Popular Front coalition, which won the largest number of seats in parliament in elections this month proposed financial crime specialist Lucie Castets as its candidate for prime minister only an hour before Macron spoke in a TV interview.
But when asked about Castets, who is unknown to the public, Macron told France 2: “This is not the issue. The name is not the issue. The issue is: Which majority can emerge at the (National) Assembly?“
“Until mid-August, we’re in no position to change things, because it would create disorder,” Macron added.
The Olympic Games in Paris, which run from Friday to Aug. 11, are a major logistics and security challenge for France, with 35 venues and an estimated 10,500 athletes.
France has been in a state of parliamentary deadlock since the election. No party won an outright majority of seats in the lower house of parliament, which is instead fragmented broadly into three blocs.
The leftist coalition has sought to propose a new prime minister to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, but has ruled out striking deals with other political forces and does not have enough seats to form a majority government.
According to the French constitution, it is up to the president to name a prime minister, so the leftist coalition has no way to force Macron’s hand. Instead, the president urged political parties to work on forming a broader coalition.
Castets is a director of finance and purchasing at Paris city hall. She graduated from France’s elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration school for civil servants in 2013, but she has no background in party politics.
The four parties in the leftist NPF — the hard-left France Unbowed, the Socialists, the Greens and the Communists — have been arguing for weeks over who to propose as prime minister.
The outgoing government acts as caretaker, running day-to-day matters without being able to pass new legislation.


US invites Sudan’s warring parties for talks in Switzerland in August

US invites Sudan’s warring parties for talks in Switzerland in August
Updated 23 July 2024
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US invites Sudan’s warring parties for talks in Switzerland in August

US invites Sudan’s warring parties for talks in Switzerland in August
  • Antony Blinken: ‘The scale of death, suffering, and destruction in Sudan is devastating. This senseless conflict must end’
  • The war in Sudan has forced almost 10 million people from their homes, sparked warnings of famine and waves of ethnically-driven violence

WASHINGTON: The United States has invited the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces for US-mediated ceasefire talks starting on Aug. 14 in Switzerland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday.
The talks will include the African Union, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations as observers, Blinken said in a statement.
“The scale of death, suffering, and destruction in Sudan is devastating. This senseless conflict must end,” Blinken said, calling on the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to attend the talks and approach them constructively.
The war in Sudan, which erupted in April 2023, has forced almost 10 million people from their homes, sparked warnings of famine and waves of ethnically-driven violence blamed largely on the RSF.
Talks in Jeddah between the army and RSF that were sponsored by the United States and Saudi Arabia broke down at the end of last year.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters on Tuesday that the goal of the talks in Switzerland was to build on work from Jeddah and try to move the talks to the next phase.
“We just want to get the parties back to the table, and what we determined is that bringing the parties, the host nations and the observers together is the best shot that we have right now at getting the nationwide cessation of violence,” Miller said.