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Germany tries first 'Islamic State jihadist'
2014.09.16 01:19:16

An alleged German jihadist has gone on trial accused of fighting in Syria for the group calling itself the Islamic State, amid calls for tougher action to prevent attacks in Europe by the group.

In the first German criminal proceedings involving IS, Kreshnik Berisha, a 20-year-old born to a family from Kosovo, has been charged with membership of a foreign terrorist organization.

Federal prosecutors say Berisha traveled to Syria in July 2013, planning to join the fighting to create a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq.

Soon after his arrival, Berisha allegedly underwent firearms training and was put to work as a medic and a guard.

In the six months he spent in Syria, he is believed to have fought in at least three battles with IS against President Bashar al-Assad's troops.

He could face 10 years in prison if convicted by the city's superior regional court.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Germany

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France begins spy flights to Iraq
2014.09.16 01:04:23

France has joined Britain in carrying out reconnaissance or surveillance flights in support of the US air campaign against armed groups in Iraq, the defense minister said on Monday.

"This very morning, the first reconnaissance flights will be carried out in agreement with the Iraqi and Emirati authorities," Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French troops, including pilots, at the Al-Dhafra base in the United Arab Emirates.

Le Drian's visit to the base came as Paris prepared to host an international conference on a fightback against the IS group, who have seized swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

[Source: AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | France

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US, Austria launch efforts to halt Islamic State group recruitments
2014.09.16 00:46:00

The US Justice Department has said it is launching a series of pilot programs to deal with American citizens intent on joining the Islamic State group fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Attorney General Eric Holder says in a video message released Monday that the programs will involve religious leaders, prosecutors and community representatives.

Meanwhile, Austria has said it plans to introduce a law banning symbols of the Islamic State group and 18 other armed groups.

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner also says that dual nationals will lose their Austrian citizenship upon joining any foreign paramilitary organization.

[Source: AP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Austria | Syria

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Shelling in the rebel-held city of Donetsk
2014.09.16 00:32:52

Six people were killed in shelling in the rebel-held city of Donetsk on Sunday, municipal authorities said on Monday, putting further strain on a 10-day ceasefire between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

A monitoring team from the OSCE said it was also shelled twice in the city on Sunday despite the ceasefire.

Separately, military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in Kiev there had been some deaths among Ukrainian troops over the weekend, although he did not provide details, and said 73 soldiers had been freed in an exchange with the rebels.

The truce started on Sept. 5 and has been broadly holding despite sporadic violations which both sides blame on the other.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Heavy fighting erupted
2014.09.15 03:29:05

Heavy fighting erupted around the rebel stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Sunday.

Donetsk council said there had been civilian casualties and described the situation in the city as "critical" but gave no further information.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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The pro-Russian party would boycott next month's parliamentary polls
2014.09.15 03:28:17

The pro-Russian party that ruled Ukraine under ousted president Viktor Yanukovych said Sunday it would boycott next month's parliamentary polls and form an "opposition government" to fight for regional powers and against Kiev's westward course.

The decision by the once-dominant Regions Party came as top politicians formed leadership lists for the October 26 election that was called early to regain people's trust after two decades of post-Soviet corruption and economic malaise.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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NATO weapons are on the way to Ukraine
2014.09.15 03:14:45

Ukrainian Defense Minister Valery Heletey says that NATO weapons are on the way to Ukraine after agreements about weapons delivery were reached at the NATO summit in Wales.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | NATO

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Reports of shelling
2014.09.15 03:13:27

Reports of shelling of neighborhoods near in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Sunday , jeopardizing the cease fire agreement.

The city council of Donetsk said Sunday that two neighborhoods in the north of the city had been repeatedly hit by shelling.

That part of the city is closest to the government-held airport, which has become the site of increasingly intense fighting between the pro-Russian separatists and Kiev's forces.

Volodymyr Polyovyi, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, told journalists Sunday that Ukrainian troops had repelled an attack at the airport by about 200 fighters during the night. He said
there were no military casualties.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Kerry 'extremely encouraged' by pledges of military support against IS
2014.09.15 02:59:17

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he was "extremely encouraged" by pledges of military assistance against the Islamic State group by countries inside and outside the Middle East.

On the CBS program 'Face the Nation,' Kerry said some countries have offered ground troops for the effort, but "we are not looking for that at this moment anyway." He did not identify the countries.

"This is a strategy coming together as the coalition comes together and the countries declare what they are prepared to do," Kerry said in the interview taped on Saturday in Egypt.

[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Syria | John Kerry | Egypt

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Qardawi criticizes US role against Islamic State
2014.09.15 02:57:35

Prominent Sunni Muslim scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has criticized the US's role in a campaign against the Islamic State group (IS) in Iraq and Syria as purely self-interested.

Qatar-based Qaradawi, seen as a spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in his native Egypt, said on Saturday that he disagreed with the plan that "the one to fight it [IS] is America."

"I totally disagree with Da'ish [Islamic State group] in ideology and means, but I don't at all accept that the one to fight it is America, which does not act in the name of Islam but rather in its own interests, even if blood is shed."

The US won backing on Thursday for a "coordinated military campaign" against IS from 10 Arab countries - Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq | Qatar | Muslim Brotherhood | Egypt

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Ukrainian government accuses pro-Russian separatists
2014.09.15 02:55:08

The Ukrainian government accused pro-Russian separatists on Sunday of threatening a tenuous push for peace as booming rounds of heavy artillery fire echoed across the insurgent stronghold of Donetsk.

It said the rebels had been intensifying their attacks on government positions in eastern Ukraine despite a ceasefire backed by Kiev and Moscow nine days ago.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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France says 930 citizens or residents involved 'in jihad'
2014.09.15 02:43:03

The French interior ministry say around 930 French citizens or residents, including at least 60 women, are either actively engaged in jihad in Iraq and Syria or are planning to go there.

In an interview with Le Journal de Dimanche weekly, Bernard Cazeneuve, said "930 French citizens or foreigners usually resident in France are today involved in jihad in Iraq and Syria."

According to the minister, "350 are on the ground, including 60 women.

Around 180 have left from Syria and 170 are en route for the zone."

In addition, some 230 people are looking to head to areas held by jihadists. Added to this total of 930, an estimated 36 have already died out there, said Cazeneuve.

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | France | Syria

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Indonesia arrests four Turks over Islamic State link
2014.09.15 02:41:10

Indonesia's anti-terrorism police have arrested four Turks and three Indonesians suspected of being linked to the Islamic State group.

The elite Detachment 88 police squad arrested the men, along with three Indonesians, after tailing their car on Saturday in central Sulawesi district of Poso, police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told the AFP news agency.

"They are Turkish," Amar said, confirming the arrest and adding that the men were being investigated for their connection to the dreaded Islamist group.

"We suspect they are linked and are investigating further," he said.

[AFP]



Tags: Indonesia | Islamic State | Syria | Iraq

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Germany's Committee on Eastern European Economic relations
2014.09.15 02:39:53

Eckard Cordes, chairman of Germany's Committee on Eastern European Economic relations, said his group, which represents the interests of about 200 companies with investments in Russia, had wanted sanctions to be delayed to help bolster the ceasefire.

"The European Union's new economic sanctions against Russia are a "mistake" because they were imposed just as a week-old ceasefire was bringing calm to the embattled east of Ukraine"

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Germany

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Australia commits 600 troops to anti-IS campaign
2014.09.15 02:24:02

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said Australia would deploy 600 troops to the United Arab Emirates to join the US-led international coalition gearing up for war against the Islamic State group.

Abbott said the deployment of about "400 air personnel and about 200 military personnel" followed a formal request from Washington for Australia to contribute to the international coalition against the rampaging Islamist group.

"Australia is prepared to engage in international operations to disrupt and degrade ISIL (IS) because of the threat that this murderous death cult poses not just to the people of Iraq, not just to the people of the Middle East, but to the whole world including to Australia."

Abbott's announcement comes two days after Canberra lifted its terror alert level to "high" on growing concern about Australian jihadists returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria.

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Syria | Australia

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Syria air strike on jihadist camp kills 18
2014.09.15 02:22:46

A Syrian air strike on an Islamic State (IS) group training camp killed at least 17 fighters and a child, a monitoring group said on Sunday.

The Saturday strike hit dormitories in the camp in the Euphrates valley town of Tibni in Deir Ezzor province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The child who was killed had been visiting his elder brother who was training with IS, the Observatory said.

President Bashar al-Assad's regime has stepped up its air campaign against the armed rebels in recent weeks, carrying out near-daily air strikes against areas under their control. [AFP]



Tags: Syria

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Fresh US and EU sanctions on Moscow
2014.09.15 02:21:40

Fresh US and EU sanctions imposed on Moscow will bring an abrupt halt to exploration of Russia's huge Arctic and shale oil reserves and complicate financing of existing Russian projects from the Caspian Sea to Iraq and Ghana.

On Friday, the United States imposed sanctions on Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil Surgutneftegas and Rosneft, banning Western firms from supporting their activities in exploration or production from deep water, Arctic offshore or shale projects.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | France | United States

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Iraqi PM renounces British citizenship by law
2014.09.15 02:11:07

Iraq's new Prime Minister Haider al-Abaddi has renounced his British citizenship since assuming office last week, three government officials close to the prime minister said on Sunday.

According to the officials, who declined to be named because they are not authorized to discuss the matter, al-Abadi surrendered his British passport after his government was officially approved by parliament on Sept. 8.

Iraq's constitution stipulates that an Iraqi citizen may hold multiple passports. However, anyone who assumes a senior security or government position must abandon any other acquired citizenship.

Al-Abadi moved to the United Kingdom in the late 1970s, where he pursued a PhD at the University of Manchester. He later went on to become the Britain-based spokesman for his Islamic Dawa Party, and would spend more than 20 years in exile in the UK before returning to Iraq following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. [AP]



Tags: Iraq | Haider al-Abbadi

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A convoy of more than 200 white trucks returned to Russia
2014.09.15 01:28:23

A convoy of more than 200 white trucks returned to Russia on Saturday after delivering humanitarian aid to the battered Ukrainian city of Luhansk, a move made without Kiev's consent yet met with silence by Ukraine's top leaders.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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The murder of David Haines
2014.09.15 01:14:12

The Islamic State group claims to have killed a hostage it had been holding since 2013. UK Prime Minister David Cameron called the murder of David Haines, a humanitarian aid worker, an act of pure evil.

Read our full report here.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United Kingdom | David Haines

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