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Thank you for bombing

THE LEVANT – By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross – Washington says its air war on the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Syria is part of a strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the organization. It may have another effect: swelling al Qaeda’s ranks and giving the jihadist group that Osama bin …

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Jordanian court frees radical cleric Abu Qatada

THE LEVANT – A Jordanian court acquitted radical cleric Abu Qatada of terrorism charges and immediately freed him on Wednesday, ending more than a decade of legal cases against the firebrand preacher. Abu Qatada, who was deported from Britain last year, was found not guilty of conspiring to attack tourists …

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Clashes erupt at flashpoint Jerusalem holy site

THE LEVANT  – Clashes broke out at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Wednesday as Palestinians protested against Jews visiting the flashpoint holy site on the eve of Jewish New Year, police said. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP that Palestinian youths had thrown stones and petrol bombs at police, injuring …

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Yemen: Provide Whereabouts of ‘Disappeared’ Activist

THE LEVANT –  Yemeni authorities should urgently provide information on the whereabouts of a forcibly disappeared southern movement activist, Human Rights Watch said today, following a letter to the interior minister on September 17, 2014, which received no response. The authorities should provide Khaled al-Junaidi, 42, immediate access to his …

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Thaw In Saudi-Iran Ties As FMs Meet In US

THE LEVANT – By Ghazanfar Ali Khan – Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers have met in New York for the first time, signaling a possible thaw in relations that have been strained for decades. Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines …

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Jordan Arrests IS Affiliates Preparing Terrorist Attack In Kingdom

THE LEVANT – Jordanian security authorities arrested several militants associated with the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported on Sunday. The detainees confessed to having connections with the group’s commanders in Syria, and said they were entrusted with carrying out terrorist operations in Jordan targeting …

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IS jihadists urge killing of citizens from US-led coalition

THE LEVANT – The Islamic State group called on Muslims to kill citizens of all countries taking part in the US-led anti-jihadist coalition by any available means, in a statement posted online Monday. “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — …

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El Sissi’s interview

THE LEVANT – Following is a transcript of The Associated Press’s interview with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Q: What role will Egypt assume in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group? A: Let me assert here that we are fully committed to cooperate in counterterrorism in the region and …

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Islamic State jihadists close in on Syrian Kurd town

THE LEVANT – Jihadists from the Islamic State group using heavy weapons have seized a string of villages around Ain al-Arab as they close in on Syria’s third largest Kurdish town, a monitor said Thursday. “IS fighters have seized at least 21 villages around Kobane,” said Syrian Observatory for Human …

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Several jihadist suspects held in Kuwait

THE LEVANT – Kuwait has arrested several suspected members of the Islamic State group and is monitoring dozens more under its commitment to the US-led international coalition against the jihadists, media reported Thursday. The Gulf state’s secret service has arrested at least five suspected members of IS which has seized …

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Iran slams US as “obsessed” with sanctions as talks resume

THE LEVANT – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday accused Washington of being “obsessed” with sanctions as a new round of high-stakes bilateral nuclear negotiations opened in New York. “We are committed to resolving this issue,” Zarif told a US think-tank, as a State Department official confirmed to …

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The plight of the Yazidis

THE LEVANT – By Matthew Barber – The plight of thousands of Yazidi women, kidnapped by the Islamic State (IS) during its August 3 attack on Iraq’s Sinjar mountains and in the following weeks, has received some media attention, but most people are unaware of just how far-reaching this disastrous …

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The ugly tentacles of terrorism

THE LEVANT – By Gwynne Dyer – A group of imams and organizations representing British Muslims has written Prime Minister David Cameron asking him to stop using the phrase “Islamic State” when talking about the new country carved out of Iraq and Syria by terrorists. That’s what Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, …

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Lebanon – Who killed Sergeant Ali Al Sayed?

THE LEVANT – The identity of the man who beheaded Lebanese Army officer, Sgt. ‘Ali Al-Sayed, has been revealed by the Lebanese Government. According to sources in Lebanon: Jabhat Al-Nusra member, ‘Umar Al-Makati of the ‘Akkar District in the Lebanese province of Tripoli, was the man identified as Sgt. Al-Sayed’s …

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Bahrain’s government is openly hostile to Qatar

THE LEVANT – Since Qatar has failed to answer calls for Bahrain government to put an end to its aggressive naturalization policy toward Bahraini nationals, Manama has significantly hardened its toward Doha, appearing decisively hostile. Bahrain warned on Wednesday it was ready to take serious counter-measures against Qatar over Doha’s …

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Yemenis align with army after al-Qaeda attacks

THE LEVANT – By Abu Bakr Al Yamany – The Yemeni street is rallying around the army in its fight against al-Qaeda in the wake of the group’s brutal attacks which are affecting both lives and livelihoods, officials said. Horrified and panicked by al-Qaeda’s crimes, organisations and individuals in all echelons …

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Saudi Arabia curbs ISIL recruitment attempts

THE LEVANT – By Sultan al-Barei – Security and outreach campaigns are under way in Saudi Arabia to prevent youth from traveling abroad to fight alongside extremist groups at the urging of some imams and religious scholars, officials told Al-Shorfa. These efforts include the recent arrest of an imam and seven others in …

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Iran Prepares for a Leadership Transition

THE LEVANT – Though Iran has been broadcasting pictures and videos of top state officials and noted foreign dignitaries visiting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the hospital, the health of the man who has held the most powerful post in the Islamic Republic remains unclear. The unusual public relations management …

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Did Al-Baghdadi’s Brother convert to Christianity?

THE LEVANT –  The Levant found out that the report of the worldnewsdailyreport site,claiming that Mohammed Bakr al-Baghdadi, the brother of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,  has converted to Christianity, is a fabrication. The false report quoted Al-Baghdadi saying to a large crowd of his followers. : «He is no more my brother then the miscreant …

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US boots on the ground in Iraq

THE LEVANT – The White House and the US military scrambled to play down a suggestion by the nation’s top officer that deploying ground forces in Iraq to fight Islamic State jihadists was an option. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and President Barack Obama’s …

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IMF and World Bank warn of renewed Gaza violence

THE LEVANT – The World Bank and International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday that insufficient funding and political efforts to rebuild Gaza would make economic recovery almost impossible and lead to further violence. The warnings came three weeks after Israel and Hamas signed a ceasefire to end 50 days of conflict, …

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Iraq parliament rejects PM’s security nominees

THE LEVANT – The Iraqi parliament voted down Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s nominees for defence and interior minister Tuesday, leaving the key positions unfilled as the country battles to regain ground from militants. Parliament approved Abadi’s partial cabinet on August 8, ushering in his term as premier, but he asked …

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