Jun 232017
Saudi says suicide bomber killed in foiled Makkah plot

Saudi security forces said Saturday they disrupted a plot to attack the Grand Mosque at Makkah, home to the holiest site in Islam, just as Ramazan concludes. The Interior Ministry said it launched raids in Jeddah as well as two areas in Makkah itself, including the Ajyad Al-Masafi neighbourhood, located near the Grand Mosque. There, police said they engaged in a shootout at a three-story house with a suicide bomber, who blew himself up and led to the building's collapse. He was killed while the blast wounded six foreigners and five members of security forces, according to the Interior Ministry's statement. Five others were arrested, it said.Saudi state television aired footage after the raid near the Grand Mosque, showing police and rescue personnel running through the neighbourhood's narrow streets. The blast demolished the building, its walls crushing a parked car as what appeared to be shrapnel and bullet holes peppered nearby structures. The Interior Ministry “confirms that this terrorist network, whose terrorist plan was thwarted, violated, in what they would have perpetrated, all sanctities by targeting the security of the Grand Mosque, the holiest place on Earth.” “They obeyed their evil and corrupt self-serving schemes managed from abroad whose aim is to destabilise the security and stability of this blessed country,” the statement said. The ministry did not name the group involved in the attack. The ultraconservative kingdom battled an Al Qaeda insurgency for years and more recently has faced attacks from a local branch of the Islamic State group. [Read More…]

Jun 232017
Chants against Saudi royals as Iran marks Jerusalem Day

TEHRAN: Chants against the Saudi royal family and the Islamic State group mingled with the traditional cries of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” at Jerusalem Day rallies across Iran on Friday. The annual show of solidarity with the Palestinians, during which hundreds of thousands of Iranians take to the streets, was launched by the Islamic republic’s late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and is now also marked by its allies across the Middle East. This year’s commemoration coincided with an intensifying battle for influence in the region between Shia Iran and its Sunni arch rival Saudi Arabia, Gulf neighbours which severed diplomatic relations in January 2016. “Death to the House of Saud and Daesh (IS),” the demonstrators chanted. “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “Death to the UK”. Iran has been heavily involved in the war against IS in both Iraq and Syria, where it has trained and advised militias to fight the militants. On Sunday, Iran fired six 750-kilometre (470-mile) range missiles at an IS base in eastern Syria, days after the militant group claimed twin bombing and shooting attacks in Tehran that left 17 people dead. Iran nuclear chief urges West to save historic deal On Friday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards displayed some of the same Zolfaghar missiles used in the strike at Valiasr Square in the heart of the capital, alongside a 2,000-kilometre (1,250-mile) range Qadr missile. Iran’s ballistic missile programme has been the subject of persistent concern in Washington and the target of repeated US sanctions. [Read More…]

Jun 212017

BEIRUT: Iranian state media on Wednesday called the appointment of Mohammed Bin Salman to the position of crown prince and successor to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman as a “soft coup”. “Soft coup in Saudi Arabia/Son becomes the succesor of the father,” read the headline on the Iranian state TV website. The move is likely to rattle Iran’s leadership, which has been critical of comments by Prince Mohammed last month that the ‘battle’ should be taken into Iran. Iran, which is predominantly Shia Muslim, and Saudi Arabia, which is mostly Sunni, compete for power and influence across the region. The two countries support opposite sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. Saudi king appoints son as crown prince in major reshuffle Islamic State carried out attacks on the Iranian parliament in Tehran and the shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, two weeks ago that left at least 17 dead. Iranian officials pointed a finger at Saudi Arabia, which denied any involvement. Tension between the two countries increased last month when US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and took a bellicose stance against Iran in an official speech, repeatedly accusing the Islamic Republic of supporting terrorism. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei labeled the Saudi leadership ‘idiots’ in a speech last month. The post Iran state media calls promotion of Mohammed bin Salman a ‘soft coup’ appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 202017
Officials: Pakistan Air Force Shoots Down Iranian Drone

Pakistani officials say an air force jet has shot down an unmanned Iranian drone that was “deep inside the Pakistani airspace.”Pakistani media quoted two unnamed officials on June 20 as saying the unmanned aircraft was shot down in the Panjgur district of southwestern Balochistan Province over the weekend.The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.Iran in recent months has expressed concern over militants operating along the Pakistani border.In May, Iran’s army chief warned that Tehran was willing to strike militant bases inside Pakistan if Islamabad did not confront Sunni insurgents who carry out cross-border attacks. The remarks drew a strong protest from Islamabad.Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036. Click for detailed story

Jun 192017

Two sailors of Pakistan Navy were martyred and three others sustained gunshot wounds when troublemakers riding motorcycles opened fire on them in a marketplace of the coastal township of Jiwani, Gwadar district, hours before Iftar on Monday. The navy personnel were boarding their vehicle after buying food items for Iftar in the market when gunmen pulled up near their vehicle and started firing indiscriminately, according to a spokesperson for Pakistan Navy. Gwadar Deputy Commissioner Naeem Bazai also confirmed the deadly shooting which, according to sources, was carried out by four gunmen riding two motorcycles. The attackers managed to flee unidentified and unchallenged. Two sailors were fatally shot, while four others sustained critical gunshot wounds. One of them died on the spot, while the other succumbed to his injuries while being driven to hospital. The injured were first ferried to Turbat where medics referred them to Karachi for specialised treatment of their critical wounds. Security forces fend off two cross-border attacks Security was stepped up in the aftermath of the deadly ambush and a manhunt was mounted. However, no arrests had been made till the filing of this report. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly shooting. But Baloch insurgents waging a low-key insurgency in the resource-rich province for over a decade routinely target security forces and government installations. The Pakistan Navy spokesperson said such cowardly acts of troublemakers could not dent the morale of the force. “These troublemakers will be taken to task.” Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri also [Read More…]

Jun 112017
Terror in Tehran

Last Wednesday (Jun 7), the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini was targeted by the IS militants. This resulted in the loss of 13 lives. The Sunni-Shia conflict has divided Muslims and it is a religious as well as political matter that needs to be addressed. The West, especially the US, is benefitting itself from this weakness of Muslims and adding fuel to the fire by siding against Iran. This is a conspiracy to break Muslim unity by secretly arming the extremist militants. Muslims need to support each other and condemn all sorts of terrorism without any discrimination. The Islamic scholars should play their part in promoting religious tolerance and peace within the Muslim world. Masooma Zahra Karachi Click for detailed story

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