CAIRO: The State Council has approved draft amendments to toughen the penalty imposed on those who attack power, natural gas or petroleum plants to reach the death penalty, according to news reports Saturday.
The amended article in the recently approved anti-terrorism draft law stipulates that those who deliberately destroy electricity, petroleum and natural gas networks or seize facilities that belong to the said services will be jailed for at least 10 years.
Life in prison is a penalty possible for thosewho use force or violence in committing the said crimes, prevent experts from fixing the damages, or caused the suspension of petroleum, electricity or natural gas supply. Read the rest of this entry »
An Islamic State plot to target soldiers from the unit of murdered Lee Rigby today is reported to have been foiled
Islamic State had planned to target an Armed Forces Day parade in south London today, it has been claimed.
The suicide attack was reportedly intended to strike soldiers from the unit of murdered Lee Rigby – the day after more than 50 people were killed in terror attacks across three continents, including 38 people in Tunisia.
The majority of those killed at the African beach resort are believed to be British.
The Sun claims a plot to explode a pressure cooker bomb in London – killing soldiers and bystanders on the route – failed after one of its leaders in Syria unwittingly recruited an undercover investigator from the newspaper to carry it out, the report said.
It is alleged that a leading figure in IS, whom it named as Junaid Hussain, originally from Birmingham, told the investigator: “It will be big. We will hit the kuffar (unbelievers) hard InshAllah. Hit their soldiers in their own land. InshAllah. Soldiers that served in Iraq and Afganistan will be present. Jump in the crowd and detonate the bomb. Read the rest of this entry »
Richard Spencer and Robert Mendick in London and Ben Farmer in Sousse
Tourists console each other following a shooting attack in the Tunisia resort town of Sousse.
Before the bullets came laughter.
As 23-year-old Seifeddine Yacoubi hopped off an inflatable boat about midday at the popular holiday resort of El Kantaoui, north of Sousse on Friday, he quickly blended into the hundreds of people enjoying a sunny day.
The aviation student carried a beach parasol and joked and laughed with tourists as he moved among the mainly European holidaymakers, seeking out anyone from Britain or France.
Police officers surround a man suspected to be involved in an attack on a beachside hotel in Sousse, Tunisia,. Photo: STRINGER
PARIS (AP) — Its imams preach austere piety, its tenets demand strict separation of sexes — and some of its most radical adherents are heeding the call of jihad. Salafism, an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran, is on the rise in France, Germany and Britain, security officials say, with Salafis sharply increasing their influence in mosques and on the streets.The trend worries European authorities, who see Salafism as one of the inspirational forces for young Europeans heading to Syria or Iraq to do battle for the Islamic State group. Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving.
In Germany, there are currently about 7,000 Salafis in the country — nearly double the 3,800 estimated four years ago, the Interior Ministry said last month. About 100 French mosques are now controlled by Salafis, a small number compared to the more than 2,000 Muslim houses of worship, but more than double the number four years ago, a senior security official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. France does not do head-counts by religious practices or origins. Read the rest of this entry »
The self-declared Republic of Somaliland – a de facto independent state formed from Somalia’s north-western regions – is often described as an island of stability in a sea of conflict. Much of the security enjoyed by its estimated 3.5 million people is attributed to a “hybrid” governance system marrying traditional authority with modern Western style democratic governance.
But Somaliland’s main donors have expressed concern over recent developments that beg the question whether its mixed political arrangements are robust enough. Claire Elder and Cedric Barnes from the International Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project discuss why a decision by the so-called Guurti – the Upper House of Elders – worries Somaliland’s international partners and risks causing a dangerous political and clan polarisation.
By late 2013, more than 90 percent of Syria’s cultural sites lay in regions affected by fighting and civil unrest, leaving them open to plunder. In addition, regions of Iraq now under the control of the Islamic State militant group and its allies include roughly 4,500 of Iraq’s 12,000 known archaeological sites.  UNESCO recently reported that the “armed extremists in Iraq” are targeting “cultural heritage, cultural and religious minorities, as well as the documents and written evidence of one of the oldest civilizations in human history” (al-Akhbar [Beirut], February 4). In addition to destroying the cultural heritage of Iraq and Syria, there is also evidence that such activities are providing an important revenue stream for the Islamic State. U.S. officials have estimated that up to $100 million worth of antiquities from Syria and Iraq are being sold off each year, a significant portion of which is likely to pass through the hands of the Islamic State (Wall Street Journal, February 10). Similarly, on February 13, a UK Conservative member of parliament, Tim Loughton, told the House of Commons that antique buyers in the West could be unwittingly “feeding insurgencies,” citing Iraqi intelligence claims that the Islamic State “had collected as much as $36 million from the sale of artifacts” (Daily Telegraph, February 13).
In late 2012, the Islamic State dramatically increased its financial income when it secured Syria’s eastern oilfields. However, due to the fall in oil prices and U.S.-led airstrikes on oil facilities in its territories, the antiquities trade has become an increasingly important source of Islamic State funds. In one recent media report, an Iraqi intelligence official was quoted as saying: “They [the Islamic State] had taken $36 million from al-Nabuk alone (an area in the Qalamoun Mountains west of Damascus). Read the rest of this entry »
The PLA’s “Stride” exercise in 2014, with “Blue Force” helicopters and “Red Force” ground forces. (Credit: China Military Online)
Between May 31 and July 28, 2014, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began the annual large-scale exercise codenamed “Stride 2014.” The Stride exercises have been a regular occurrence, focusing largely on the rapid deployment of large field formations into unfamiliar territory and conducting confrontation drills. The 2014 version, however, was different in its scale, unit composition, intensity and the nature of the opponent the units faced. No fewer than seven of the PLA’s top brigades from seven different group armies (GA) were deployed to the Zhurihe Training Base in Inner Mongolia, under the Beijing Military Region. During the six confrontation exercises that followed, only one resulted in a victory for the visiting “Red Forces” (REDFOR), and at heavy cost. The drubbing received by the REDFOR actually reflects a new age in PLA training that is closely linked with the unit that taught them the lesson, China’s first dedicated opposing forces brigade (OPFOR).  Read the rest of this entry »