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The Levant

Islamic State fighters are using US arms

THE LEVANT – Islamic State fighters appear to be using captured US military issue arms and weapons supplied to moderate rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia, according to a report published on Monday. The study by the London-based small-arms research organisation Conflict Armament Research documented weapons seized by Kurdish forces …

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Iran’s supreme leader undergoes prostate surgery

THE LEVANT – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei successfully underwent prostate surgery it was announced Monday, in an unprecedented public statement about his health, which has long been the subject of speculation. The 75-year-old cleric, who has ruled since the death in 1989 of the Islamic republic’s founder Ayatollah …

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ISIL is moving toward Egypt

THE LEVANT – The Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group which has taken control of vast swathes of land in northern Syria and Iraq, is now attempting to extend its influence into Egypt, according to a media reports. A senior commander of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has been active in …

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Violent clashes in Al Jawf claim lives

THE LEVANT – At least 50 people were killed in clashes between Yemeni soldiers affiliated to Al Islah – Yemen’ Sunni radical faction – and Houthi militants in the northern province of Al Jawf, after Houthi positions were challenged in the area. While the Houthis have worked to cut off …

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Yemeni journalists become shooting targets

THE LEVANT –  A string of attacks on journalists in Yemen have prompted local and international human right organisations to urge the government and warring factions to protect journalists. The latest victims of these attacks were two journalists said to be affiliated to the Houthis group in the capital. The first …

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Ali Hussein Kadhim – the story of an escape

THE LEVANT  -An Iraqi soldier says he survived the mass execution of his comrades-in-arms by Islamic State gunmen by falling over when he heard a gunshot and pretending he was dead for hours amid the dozens of blood-soaked bodies around him. The massacre, which took place in June, is gaining …

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Islam for Dummies

THE LEVANT  – By Mehdi Hasan – Can you guess which books the wannabe jihadists Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed ordered online from Amazon before they set out from Birmingham to fight in Syria last May? A copy of Milestones by the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb? No. How about Messages to the World: the …

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Outrage as Israel prevents MEP delegation to enter Gaza

THE LEVANT – Israel refused to allow a delegation composed by 13 MEPs from European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE\NGL) to enter Gaza.
 Facing the decision of the Netanyahu government, the president of the Party of the European Left (EL), Pierre Laurent has openly expressed his indignation: “I oppose this arbitrary …

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Orphans are kidnapped by ISIL in Iraq

THE LEVANT – Takfiri radicals from the ISIL terrorist group have abducted at least 100 Shia and Izadi children at an orphanage near the troubled northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Local residents say the militants kidnapped the children after they captured the city of Talafar in June and Shingal in …

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President Morsi to answer treason charges

THE LEVANT –  Military-ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and several others have been charged with handing over national security documents to Qatar, the state prosecutor says. Relations between Qatar and Egypt have been icy since July 2013, when then-Egyptian army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi toppled Morsi after mass unrest against his …

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Where IS recruits are really coming from

THE LEVANT – She was a typical Scottish teen who loved make-up, Coldplay, and had a crush on Zac Efron, according to friends. Until November 2013 when Aqsa Mahmood dropped out of university and disappeared from her well-to-do home in Glasgow. Her distraught parents reported the then 19-year-old missing, but the …

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Gazans dig wells to cope with water shortage

THE LEVANT – After two weeks with no water following Israel’s 50-day offensive, Abu Osama took matters into his own hands, and like hundreds of others, sank a well beside his Gaza home. After nearly two months of Israeli bombardment, power cuts and water shortages, he seized upon the ceasefire …

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ISIL – The new face of evil

THE LEVANT  –  How a terror movement came to be – [embedplusvideo height=”450″ width=”550″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1pwygfl” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/vjO4Hq5Kqhk?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=vjO4Hq5Kqhk&width=550&height=450&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep8228″ /] [embedplusvideo height=”450″ width=”550″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1pwym6R” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/7hzZt9S1h9E?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=7hzZt9S1h9E&width=550&height=450&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep5967″ /]

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Slain journalist was an Israeli citizen

THE LEVANT –  An Israeli official confirmed Wednesday that slain American journalist Steven Sotloff was also an Israeli citizen. Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson wrote on his personal Twitter feed: “Cleared for publication: Steven Satloff was Israel citizen RIP,” misspelling the journalist’s last name. There was no further comment from …

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Lebanon struggles over captive troops crisis

THE LEVANT – Lebanon’s government is forming a crisis committee to handle the case of some two dozen members of the security forces held captive by Syrian militants amid escalating criticism over the authorities’ response to the hostage affair, an official said Thursday. Information Minister Ramzi Jreij said Prime Minister …

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Israel feels nervous over war crimes probe

THE LEVANT – A jittery Israeli military is gearing up for what could become its next big battle: dealing with U.N. investigations that could result in war-crimes allegations. The army has beefed up its legal staff, is conducting internal investigations of its wartime actions and has prepared a detailed PR …

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Khalil Halwachi is arrested in Bahrain

THE LEVANT – Fears over the safety of Mr. Khalil’s Halwachi, father of the Head of monitoring and documentation of EBOHR, after raiding his home at dawn and arresting him. The European- Bahraini Organisation For Human Rights expresses its deep concern over the  arrest of 57-year-old Mr. Khalil Halwachi by the Bahraini …

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Israelis unsure whether they won or lost in Gaza

THE LEVANT –  By Jonathan Cook – Despite hailing as a victory the seven weeks of fighting that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and destroyed large swathes of Gaza’s infrastructure, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appears to have emerged as the main political casualty of Operation Protective Edge. In late …

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Historic buildings blown up in Syria’s Aleppo

THE LEVANT – Several historic buildings, including a colonial-era structure, have been blown up in Syria’s second city of Aleppo, where fighting has wrought massive destruction, reports said Wednesday, September 3. Rebel fighters destroyed “several old buildings on Tuesday night by placing explosives in a tunnel leading under the Old …

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Lebanon’s arm deals

THE LEVANT – France and Saudi Arabia are close to signing a $3 billion arms deal for Lebanon, the Elysee Palace said Monday following talks between President Francois Hollande and the Saudi crown prince. “It will not be signed Monday but it is being finalized,” an aide to the president …

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ISIL is not invincible says US expert

THE LEVANT – “ISIL is not invincible,” said National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Director Matthew Olsen, referring to the extremist organization (known also as ISIS and Islamic State) currently in control of large areas of both Syria and Iraq, during an event sponsored by the Intelligence Project at Brookings. Yet, said Olsen, the group …

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Terrorism is not a cultural problem

THE LEVANT – By Badr Al Ibrahim – Certain religious and intellectual questions are posed in an attempt to understand terrorism. The resultant explanations are often weak and overlook factors such as political violence and political objectives. With the emergence of groups such as ISIS, we have returned to the atmosphere …

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Iraqi Army Enters the University of Tikrit

THE LEVANT – After a long, hard fought battle outside of the University of Tikrit, the Iraqi Army has finally entered the school, forcing the Islamic State to abandon their positions and retreat north. This marks the first time in two months that the Iraqi Army has been able to enter …

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72 Hour Ceasefire Announced in Darayya

THE LEVANT – The Syrian Arab Army and representatives of the Islamic Front have agreed to a 72 hour ceasefire in the Darayya District, after heavy clashes  the last two days. The ceasefire was called in order for the two parties to negotiate a reconciliation agreement that would permanently end the violence and restore …

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Hamas rises in popularity in Gaza

THE LEVANT – The popularity of the Hamas militant group among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has spiked significantly following the 50-day war with Israel, according to an opinion poll released Tuesday. The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and headed by …

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770 Iraqi are killed by ISIL

THE LEVANT – Militants from the Islamic State group carried out a mass killing of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers captured when the extremists overran a military base north of Baghdad in June, a leading international watchdog said Wednesday. The incident at Camp Speicher, an air base that previously served as a …

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World powers are ganging up on ISIL

THE LEVANT – New laws make it easier to seize passports. Suspected fighters are plucked from planes. Authorities block finances and shut down radical mosques. And behind the scenes, Silicon Valley firms are under increasing pressure to wipe extremist content from websites as Western intelligence agencies explore new technologies to identify …

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