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Syria rebels seize last major Idlib army base – reports (BBC, May 19, 2015)
“Syrian rebels have reportedly seized the last major army base in north-western Idlib province, in a fresh setback for President Bashar al-Assad.
State forces withdrew from the Mastouma base after days of fighting, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The assault on Idlib is run by a coalition of Islamist rebels, including the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
Meanwhile Islamic State (IS) militants are again reported to be threatening the town of Palmyra.
Residents reported that IS militants had moved into the town’s northern quarters, after being driven out late last week.
Syrian state media implicitly acknowledged the loss of the Mastouma base, saying its forces had heavily pounded “terrorist formations” which had infiltrated the camp…..”
Sahara desert gun battle yields drugs haul, says France (BBC, May 19, 2015)
“The French army says it has seized 1.5 tonnes of drugs and a cache of weapons after stopping a convoy of militants in the desert in north-eastern Niger.
Militants in two pickup trucks opened fire on French and Nigerien forces after refusing to stop at a checkpoint on 14 May, the French military said.
Soldiers discovered the illegal cargo after a fire-fight in which three militants were killed, it added.
France has 3,000 troops in the Sahel region to combat militant Islamists.
Three other militants were also captured and handed over to Nigerien forces, the French army said in its statement.
Widespread trafficking in the Sahel region is a major source of funding for militant Islamist groups across the continent, analysts say.
Operation Barkhane, which comprises French forces as well as troops from Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, was established in August 2014 to stop the emergence of jihadist groups….”
Nigeria suicide bomb kills at least seven at market (BBC, May 19, 2015)
“A suicide bomber has blown himself up outside a livestock market in north-east Nigeria killing at least seven people.
It is the second suicide attack in northern Nigeria in less than a week.
On Saturday, at least nine people were killed in Yobe state when a woman blew herself up at a bus station.
Although no-one has yet claimed responsibility, the militant group Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the attack.
The bomb went off at about 12:15 GMT in the village of Garkida in Adamawa state.
The BBC’s Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar in Abuja said locals at the entrance to the market were suspicious before the blast and tried to prevent the bomber going in when he detonated explosives strapped to his body.
The attacks come as the Islamist insurgents are under increased pressure from the Nigerian military, our correspondent adds….”
Canadian youths ‘trying to join Islamic State’ arrested (BBC, May 20, 2015)
“Ten youths have been arrested by Canadian police on suspicion of planning to travel to Iraq and Syria to join Islamic State.
All 10 had their passports confiscated after they were detained at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport at the weekend.
Police said in a statement on Tuesday that none of the suspects had been charged, but investigations were ongoing.
Their families have been informed.
“These are very difficult times for the relatives and loved ones of the persons arrested, as the decision to leave the country was not that of the family, but of a single family member,” the statement said.
“As a result, family members often find themselves at a complete loss and unable to understand the decision made by the youth.”
Police said they could not disclose the identity of the suspects or provide information about what led to their arrests….”
RCMP – Ten Montreal Residents arrested at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport
Montréal, May 19, 2015 – The Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) made a series of arrests last weekend in order to disrupt the plans of ten young Montréal residents suspected of wanting to leave the country to join jihadist groups. The arrests took place at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport.
No charges have been laid at this time, and the investigation is ongoing. Consequently, the RCMP is unable to disclose the identity of the persons who were arrested or any information that led to their arrests. We can say, however, that the families and friends of the young persons have been met by investigators. All ten young persons arrested had their passports confiscated.
These are very difficult times for the relatives and loved ones of the persons arrested, as the decision to leave the country was not that of the family, but of a single family member. As a result, family members often find themselves at a complete loss and unable to understand the decision made by the youth. It would be desirable for the media to respect the privacy of family members and friends in their search for information.
The RCMP wishes to take this opportunity to remind the public of the importance to remain vigilant and to report any information on suspected terrorist or terrorist-related activity to the National Security Information Line at 1 800 420-5805, or their local police department.
In Quebec, the Counter-Terrorism Police Management Structure, which consists of the RCMP, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal and the Sûreté du Québec, collaborates with municipal police departments to conduct operations like the one that took place last weekend.
Ramadi battle: Iraq calls for volunteers for IS fight (BBC, May 20, 2015)
“Iraq’s government has called for volunteers to fight against Islamic State and help retake the city of Ramadi.
A cabinet statement said a voluntary recruitment drive was necessary to fill shortages in squads in the west of Anbar province.
Thousands have fled Ramadi since its capture by IS on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the US National Security Council said it was considering “how best to support local ground forces”.
Spokesman Alistair Baskey told AFP that some of the measures may include “accelerating the training and equipping of local tribes and supporting an Iraqi-led operation to retake Ramadi”.
A more detailed announcement could come within days.
President Barack Obama has been briefed by advisers and “reaffirmed the strong US support” for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Islamic State militants have been setting up defensive positions in Ramadi, witnesses say….”
Iraq: Scores dead as pro-government forces battle IS in Ramadi
US Helicopter Shot at By Anti-ISIS Forces; Commander Blames Iran (defenseone, May 19, 2015)
“Iranian-fueled rumors that the U.S. is arming the Islamic State, or ISIS, with weapons have resulted in at least one instance where anti-ISIS fighters fired on U.S. forces. Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani, the most important military leader in Iran, and a man with tremendous influence over Iran’s activities in both Iraq and Yemen, believes the rumor fully according to a key U.S. special operations forces commander in Iraq.
Army Brig. Gen. Kurt Crytzer, deputy commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Central, revealed the concern at a conference on Tuesday when he spoke about “intelligence reports that we’ve gotten that members [of the anti-Islamic State coalition] were firing on helicopters because they thought we were supporting Daesh.” He later clarified “there was an incident; this was one specific incident where we had certain intelligence.”
He did not say when this had occurred. In the fall of last year, Iranian state media began to report that the U.S. was aiding the Islamic State, an assertion based, in part, on a video from the militant group. The video, from October, shows Islamic State militants rifling through a cache of American-supplied grenades and other small weapons. Also in October, the Pentagon acknowledged that a shipment of weapons dropped from the air and intended for Kurdish forces had wound up in the hands of the Islamic State…..”
Deborah Weiss: Tweeting Islamist Propaganda
‘On April 30, 2015, in Jesuit Georgetown University’s Healy Hall, amidst paintings of priests and Christian imagery, The Bridges Initiative was launched. The event was titled, “A Conversation on Islamophobia”. The motto of the campaign is “Protecting Pluralism – Ending Islamophobia.”…
‘The Bridges Initiative appears to be distinguishable from Georgetown’s past anti-Islamophobia campaigns in that it aspires to collect data from, and act as a repository for, seemingly objective data including charts, surveys, articles, news and statistics, provided by high profile professors, think tanks and policy “experts” to give it an air of legitimacy. It plans to funnel this body of work through Facebook, Twitter and other social media, hoping it will go viral and preferably undisputed.
‘The ACMCU and other Saudi-funded and interfaith programs have long been centers of indoctrination of America’s youth, teaching them in an Orwellian fashion that America is evil and the Muslim world is Victim.’
Malaysia, Indonesia to stop towing away migrants
‘Malaysia and Indonesia said Wednesday they would no longer turn away migrant vessels, responding to world pressure by offering to take in a wave of boatpeople if they can be resettled or repatriated within a year.’
Missing migrant boat found as two countries offer shelter (BBC, May 20, 2015)
“Migrants found by the BBC last week drifting off the coast of Thailand have been rescued by Indonesian fishermen.
A BBC reporter who reached the boat says it is filthy and insect infested. The engine broke down last week.
In a significant change, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to offer temporary shelter to 7,000 migrants stranded in the Andaman Sea.
Nearly 3,000 Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants have come to shore in recent weeks, but many have been turned away.
Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman announced the change after emergency talks in Kuala Lumpur with his Indonesian and Thai counterparts on the growing humanitarian crisis.
It was a surprise move by Malaysia and Indonesia to offer temporary shelter immediately to 7,000 migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar – they have been towing the boats out of their waters for weeks.
The two countries said the decision was made due to the worsening humanitarian crisis. But they have asked the international community for financial assistance and for the migrants to be resettled or repatriated within a year. How that will be achieved remains unclear.
The ministers emphasised that the deal only applies to those who are already at sea as they don’t want to open the floodgates to more refugees. Again more questions than answers….”
Myanmar relents, will attend Bangkok meeting – Don
‘Myanmar reversed course Wednesday, saying it now likely will attend a regional meeting in Bangkok next week set to address the crisis involving thousands of minority Muslims fleeing the Southeast Asian nation by boat.
‘Thailand’s Deputy Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai confirmed today that Myanmar has accepted its invitation.’
Islamic State ‘seizes part of Syria’s Palmyra’ (BBC, May 20, 2015)
“Islamic State fighters have seized the northern part of the ancient World Heritage-listed city of Palmyra in Syria, a monitoring group has said.
Militants seized part of the town of Tadmur located on a strategic east-west route next to Palmyra on Saturday but had been pushed back from the ruins.
Palmyra contains architecture of one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world, according to Unesco.
Now they have reached Palmyra, it is feared IS fighters may destroy it.
IS demolished the Unesco world heritage site of Hatra in Iraq in March, seeing it as a symbol of idolatry….”
BBC – Buckinghamshire groomed girl abused by 60 men in ‘ring of horror’
Members of a child sex ring abused two vulnerable schoolgirls on a “massive scale”, a court has heard.
One girl, who was aged 12 or 13 at the time, alleges she was abused and passed between 60 men who had sex with her, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
Eleven men, on trial at the Old Bailey, variously deny 52 sexual offences between 2006 and 2012.
Prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC said the girls were conditioned into believing their “horrifying” ordeal was normal.
Both came from troubled backgrounds and wanted to feel grown up when they were taken in by the men.
[…]Mr Saxby said the girls were befriended and given gifts such as alcohol, DVDs, food, and occasionally drugs.
“They were children, they spoke in terms of these men being their boyfriends. And they were passed from man to man – sometimes on a daily basis.
“The scale of it is, you may agree, horrifying. A estimated that she had sex with about 60 men,” said Mr Saxby.
Charges against the men:
Vikram Singh, 45, of Cannock Road, Aylesbury, is charged with four counts of rape, four counts of sexual activity with a child, and one of administering a substance with intent.
Harmohan Nangpal, 41, of Langdale Drive, Hayes, is accused of one count of rape, and one count of sexual activity with a child.
Asif Hussain, 33, of Hodge Lea, Milton Keynes, face three counts of rape, three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of arranging child prostitution.
Arshad Jani, 33, of Cousins Drive, Aylesbury, denies one count of rape, and a further count of sexual activity with a child.
Mohammed Imran, 38, of Springcliffe Street, Bradford, is accused of three counts of rape, three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child, two counts of conspiracy to rape and one count of child prostitution.
Akbari Khan, 36, of Mandeville Road, Aylesbury, denies two counts of rape, one count of of sexual activity with a child, and one each of administering a substance with intent, conspiracy to rape, and conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child.
Taimoor Khan, 29, of Highbridge Road, Aylesbury, is charged with one count of rape, one count of sexual activity with a child, one count of conspiracy to rape, and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child.
Jerome Joe, 35, of Pightle Crescent, Buckingham, is charged with one count of rape and a single count of sexual activity with a child.
Sajad Ali, 34, of Brockhurst Road, Chesham, is charged with rape, sexual activity with a child and administering a substance.
Sohail Qamar, 41, of St Anne’s Road, Aylesbury, is accused of sexual activity with a child, two counts of rape, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Faisal Iqbal, 32, of Pixie Road, Aylesbury, is on trial accused of conspiracy to rape and conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child.
Home counties horror: Schoolgirl ‘raped by 60 members of Asian sex gang by the age of 16′
A SCHOOLGIRL who fell prey to a child sex gang was allegedly abused by 60 men by the time she was 16, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.
The girl and a friend were repeatedly raped on an almost daily basis from the age of 12 or 13, the jury was told.
The alleged victims, who came from disturbed backgrounds, were befriended and then groomed for sex, it was alleged.
One of them was even approached as she browsed the toy section of a Woolworths store just before her 13th birthday and taken to a Santa Claus movie, the court heard.
Lured back to private houses, the girls were given food, alcohol, drugs and gifts such as DVDs, the jury was told.
Oliver Saxby, QC, prosecuting, said: “They were easy prey for a group of men wanting casual sexual gratification that was easy, regular and readily available.
“They were being conditioned, exploited. Their trust was being established. And then they were sexually abused.”
The alleged child sex gang of mostly Asian men was based in the market town of Aylesbury, Bucks.
A total of 11 men deny 49 charges including rape, sexual activity with a child and arranging child prostitution.
Each of the 11 sexually abused one of the girls while two of the defendants preyed on her friend, it was alleged.
“Each acted with a total disregard of the law and the legal prohibition on the sexual abuse of children,” Mr Saxby said.
“They lived in Aylesbury, which is where this abuse occurred. Some were friends. Others acquaintances.
“Some were married. Some had children. Some were in work – a few were taxi drivers.
“Some worked on the market in Aylesbury. Some just hung out there.”
During police interviews, one of the girls estimated 60 mainly Asian men had sex with her before she was 16, the court heard.
The alleged victim told officers: “You get passed round. It wasn’t particularly me looking for them.
“It was them looking for me. It’s just that they pass your number around.
“Or you’re with then and they invite three or four of their friends round and then you have to sleep with them.”
Craving attention, the girls were initially made to feel wanted and even thought of their abuser as their “boyfriends,” the jury was told.
But the girls’s sense of right and wrong had been turned upside down, the court heard.
The men took advantage of their “desperate need to be wanted and loved and grown up.” said Mr Saxby.
Unable to escape the cycle of abuse, the girls fell prey to “ever-increasingly damaging behaviour,” he added.
“There was no talk of fighting them off or screaming or help or anything like that,” Mr Saxby said.
“Attention. Company. Compliments. Gifts. Somewhere to hang out, people to be with.
“Drink. Drugs. Excitement. The establishing of trust, of belonging, of being part of a group,” Mr Saxby said.
“In a word, grooming, ” he added.
Mark Steyn blasts Hillary Clinton’s campaign
Moroccan man arrested [ in Milan ] over deadly Bardo museum attack
BBC News – Islamic State: BBC sees Iraq air strikes on Mosul –
Martin… I’m not sure which link I clicked but I picked up a worm in this thread. i had to reboot. It wasn’t friendly
I noticed it watching this video
I had two heavyweight computer security people check this thread. Its clean. There is no malware planted anywhere on this site that they saw but certainly not on this thread.
Two dos windows came up thought they were element window pop up or something. A graphic like a logo that flashed on the screen I couldn’t make it out.
as soon as I seen them I shut the computer down.
computer seems to be clean now.
I suspected a worm not a virus.
I’m sure of it, apart from the youtubes there, there is no active content.
I really am an authority on this subject.
Rebel Media – Did Pope Francis really call Abbas “an angel of peace’?
Pope says Koran is a book of peace and Islam is a peaceful religion
Islamic State – Public execution of 2 spies -( 3 min 07 ) – ( graphic —-> from 2:54 to the end )
I wonder who has the concession on orange jumpsuits and black flags. They must be making a fortune!
Turkey opposition accuses government of sending arms to Syria
Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Wednesday accused the government of delivering arms to Islamist rebels in Syria, pledging to seal the border to such traffic if he came to power.
Turkey has been under fire for allegedly shipping arms to insurgents fighting to bring down the regime of President Bashar al-Assad — charges vehemently denied by Ankara.
“There are videos showing how cases in trucks were opened and images of bombs. I also watched them,” Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told the Hurriyet newspaper in an interview.
“There is nothing to hide here,” he said.
Kilicdaroglu pledged to bolster security on the Turkish-Syrian border if his CHP party came to power in June 7 general elections.
Polls show the CHP running in second place, after the ruling AKP party.
“With the CHP in power, the border would return to its former state and we would provide border security,” Kilicdaroglu said.
His comments come amid growing controversy over the arrests of dozens of soldiers, police and prosecutors over inspections of Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) vehicles bound for Syria in January 2014.
Leaked documents circulating on the Internet claimed the seized trucks were delivering weapons to Islamist rebels fighting Assad, a former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We will not allow illegal border crossings,” Kilicdaroglu said. “And MIT trucks will not shuttle back and forth.”
Erdogan at the weekend said that the checks on the trucks were “treason” and deserved to be punished.
Tensions over foreign policy are running high in the run-up to the election, with some top CHP figures claiming that Ankara is planning to militarily intervene in Syria as a publicity stunt ahead of the vote.
The government has ridiculed the claim as “lies”.
There have also been claims that Turkey and its close ally Qatar supplied arms to Al-Qaeda-linked rebels to help them take the region of Idlib from Assad’s forces earlier last month.
ISRAEL – Arabs Fly Nazi Flag near Hevron
Hundreds of residents of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, were astounded Monday morning to see an oversized Nazi flag flying next to a mosque in the Arab town of Beit Omar.
The residents notified the IDF.
A resident, Uri Arnon, told the Tazpit News Agency: “I felt we were going back 75 years, losing our hold on the land. The Arabs no longer feel the need to hide their murderous tendencies, announcing out loud that they wish to annihilate us.”
An IDF spokesman said that the flag was hung on an electrical line, and that they were waiting to professionals to come and remove it.
MAY 15 – Nasrallah: Airstrikes in Yemen Reflect Saudis’ Bedouin Mentality
CHINA – 51 Passengers Vs Six-seat Van: Police cam shows construction workers packed inside van in China
Police were stunned to discover an incredible 51 people crammed inside a six-seat van that was spotted travelling slowly and swaying in Guizhou province on Sunday.
The rear four seats had been removed from the back of the van, allowing 49 adults to cram in standing up.
Police said that the body of the vehicle almost touched the ground because of the weight.
Islamic State – Muslims celebrate Ramadi victory –
Record fines for currency market fix (BBC, May 20, 2015)
“Five of the world’s largest banks are to pay fines totalling $5.7bn (£3.6bn) for charges including manipulating the foreign exchange market.
Four of the banks – JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup and RBS – have agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges.
The fifth, UBS, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates.
Barclays was fined the most, $2.4bn, as it did not join other banks in November to settle investigations by UK, US and Swiss regulators.
Barclays is also sacking eight employees involved in the scheme.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that “almost every day” for five years from 2007, currency traders used a private electronic chat room to manipulate exchange rates.
Their actions harmed “countless consumers, investors and institutions around the world”, she said.
Separately, the Federal Reserve fined a sixth bank, Bank of America, $205m over foreign exchange-rigging. All the other banks were fined by both the Department of Justice and the Federal Reserve….”
Bin Laden ‘focused on US to the end’, papers show (BBC, May 20, 2015)
“In his final years alive, Osama Bin Laden urged his followers to remain focused on attacking the US, newly released documents show.
US officials have published a trove of files found at his Pakistan hideout the night the al-Qaeda chief was killed.
They include Arabic correspondence with his lieutenants, a love letter to one of his wives and an application form to join the terror group.
He also had English language books on economic and military theory.
In one of the letters, Bin Laden instructs one of his deputies to tell “our brothers” that they must remained focused on fighting Americans.
Their “job is to uproot the obnoxious tree by concentrating on its American trunk, and to avoid being occupied with the local security forces,” he writes.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said a “rigorous” review had taken place before the spy agency ordered the release of the documents….”
Bin Ladin’s Bookshelf (odni)
“On May 20, 2015, the ODNI released a sizeable tranche of documents recovered during the raid on the compound used to hide Usama bin Ladin. The release, which followed a rigorous interagency review, aligns with the President’s call for increased transparency–consistent with national security prerogatives–and the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act, which required the ODNI to conduct a review of the documents for release.
The release contains two sections. The first is a list of non-classified, English-language material found in and around the compound. The second is a selection of now-declassified documents.
The Intelligence Community will be reviewing hundreds more documents in the near future for possible declassification and release. An interagency taskforce under the auspices of the White House and with the agreement of the DNI is reviewing all documents which supported disseminated intelligence cables, as well as other relevant material found around the compound. All documents whose publication will not hurt ongoing operations against al-Qa‘ida or their affiliates will be released…..”
Now Declassified Material
Pakistan court jails hate cleric for five years (BBC, May 20, 2015)
“A court in Pakistan has jailed a Muslim prayer leader for five years for inciting religious hatred.
Qari Abubaker was convicted in the city of Lahore of calling minority Shia Muslims “infidels”.
At least six other clerics have been jailed for similar offences in the past two months in Lahore, officials say.
Inciting religious hatred is against the law in Pakistan but rarely reported or punished. Thousands have been killed in sectarian violence in recent years.
The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says because reporters are not allowed inside anti-terrorism courts, rulings rarely attract attention.
For security reasons court officials have told reporters not to name judges involved in the cases.
Officials say recent arrests of prayer leaders on hate speech charges have been made under the so-called National Action Plan against terrorism….”
Islamic State crisis: US sends Iraq missiles for Ramadi battle (BBC, May 20, 2015)
“The US military says it is sending 1,000 anti-tank missiles to the Iraqi government following the fall of Ramadi to Islamic State (IS) forces.
A spokesman said the missiles would help counter the threat from large IS car bombs in the city, west of Baghdad.
Iraqi forces are regrouping and are expected to retake the city in the “near term”, Col Pat Ryder said.
More than 40,000 people have fled their homes since IS militants seized the Ramadi last Friday.
On Wednesday, thousands displaced by the violence in the western province of Anbar were finally allowed to enter Baghdad.
Many had been stranded on open land for several days amid government fears that IS might have infiltrated them….”
Italy’s Renzi says Europe blind to migrants’ plight (BBC, May 20, 2015)
“Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has accused the rest of Europe of trying to ignore the Mediterranean migrant crisis, after several states ruled out quotas for taking in asylum seekers.
“Europe cannot just say ‘out of sight, out of mind’,” he said, as he vowed to recover hundreds of bodies from a boat that sank last month.
Italy and Greece are struggling to cope with the surge in migration.
But France and Spain have joined the UK in rejecting an EU proposal for quotas.
Under the European Commission proposal, 20,000 asylum seekers would be distributed across the EU, in proportion to the size of a country’s economy, population and its rate of unemployment.
Germany would take the largest number – 18.4% – followed by France (14%), Italy (11.8%) and Spain (9%).
While France was initially positive, President Francois Hollande was adamant on Tuesday that there was “no question” of migrant quotas in Europe.
Spain also complained that the plan failed to take account of its 23.8% jobless rate as well as its own struggle with migration from North Africa.
The UK, Ireland and Denmark are exempt from the plan because of EU law, and Hungarian President Viktor Orban has condemned the idea as “bordering on insanity”….”
Rarely agree with V.Orban. But this time he made the right call…
Consider this… (Next time some lunatic comes to you and starts lecturing about “our radicals” and the Oklahoma city bombing, teach him or her some basics about ratios.)
Fall of Ramadi: 30 Car Bombs, 10 as Big as Oklahoma City Blast, US Official Says (abcnews, May 20, 2015)
“The State Department is sharing new details about the deadly fighting in Ramadi, Iraq, last Sunday, saying the city fell into ISIS hands after the militant group set off 30 suicide car bombs in the city center, 10 of which each were comparable in power to the Oklahoma City truck bomb of 1995.
The explosions took out “entire city blocks,” said a senior State Department official who spoke to reporters at the State Department Wednesday on condition that he not be named. The vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, or VBIEDs, were able to gain access to the city center after an armored bulldozer plowed through T-wall barricades lining the city’s critical government buildings, the official said, adding that the same bulldozer was later used as a power VBIED, itself.
Soon after the bombs went off, the Iraqis deployed a reinforcing column into the city center, but they were forced to retreat after coming under heavy enemy fire, the official said. That retreat led to a larger exodus of Iraqi security forces and the civilian populations, leaving the streets looking “barren,” according to this official….”
From Middle-Class Australian to Islamic State Bride (abcnews, May 20, 2015)
“Quietly — almost secretly — Zehra Duman morphed from private school student to Islamic State bride and online recruiter for the movement. Her family did not see it coming.
So when the 21-year-old Turkish-Australian gave up her middle-class life in Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, for faraway Raqqa, the Islamic State movement’s center in war-ravaged Syria, the people who knew her were astonished.
“We did not notice any extremist tendencies in her behavior,” Saniye Coskundag, acting principal of Sirius College’s Keysborough campus, told The Associated Press.
“She’s been brainwashed, she wasn’t like this three or four months ago,” her father Davut Duman told Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper in an article published Dec. 28.
By then, Duman was wed to Islamic State soldier Mahmoud Abdullatif, 23, who reportedly left his own Melbourne home last year. The couple announced their wedding online on Dec. 11, with a photograph of her dowry that included an assault rifle.
Now calling herself Zehra Abdullatif or Umm (“Mother”) Abdullatif, the Muslim fighter’s wife told her online followers her parents had no clue she would elope to Islamic State….”
For One Dutchman, Life Morphed From Discos to Jihad (abcnews, May 20, 2015)
“The father says he did not raise his son as a Muslim — and he regrets his decision now.
Maybe if Reda Nidalha, born and bred in the historic Dutch university city of Leiden, had learned about moderate Islam, it would have been harder for extremists to “brainwash” him and help him travel to Syria, his father says.
Mohamed Nidalha sent his son to Belgium to stay with his uncle after Reda fell in with a bad set of friends in Leiden.
But Reda soon came into online contact with a Belgian in Syria who linked him up with a notorious terror recruiting network, Sharia4Belgium.
The 20-year-old who grew up liking girls and going to discos suddenly changed, thanks to a toxic cocktail of online propaganda and covert contact with extremists in Belgium, one of Europe’s hotspots for Islamic radicals.
“He went to the mosque, grew a beard and went to readings somewhere in a secret place — not in a mosque, but in a house somewhere,” says Nidalha, a 49-year-old immigrant from Morocco who works in a concrete factory. “There, he was brainwashed, and prepared. Inside two months he was made totally crazy.”
Reda is emblematic for hundreds of disaffected Muslim youngsters from the largely secular countries of Belgium and the Netherlands who have turned their backs on their liberal Western societies and been sucked into the sectarian maelstrom of Syria’s brutal civil war….”