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Philippine city under siege after attack claimed by Islamic State

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Housands of civilians fled fighting in the Philippines on Wednesday as troops tried to fend off Islamist militants who took over large parts of Marawi city, taking hostages, seizing and torching buildings and setting free scores of prisoners. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the rampage via its Amaq news agency. The attacks came as President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on Mindanao, the Muslim-majority island where Marawi city is located. The violence flared in Marawi on Tuesday afternoon after a botched raid by security forces on a hideout of the Maute, a militant group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State. Fighters quickly dispersed, torching buildings and taking over bridges, a hospital, two jails, a church and a college. Duterte said he heard reports they may have beheaded a police chief.

 

Rouhani says regional stability without Iran is impossible

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the Middle East won’t see stability without the help of Iran, responding to criticism of the Islamic Republic from U.S. President Donald Trump. “Who can say regional stability can be restored without Iran? Who can say the region will experience total stability without Iran?” Rouhani said during a press conference, broadcast live on state television. Iran’s president also dismissed a summit which was attended by Trump on Sunday (May 21) in Saudi Arabia as a “ceremonial [event] that had no political value and will bear no results”. Rouhani added that the U.S. administration lacked knowledge about the Middle East. “Americans resorted to many different methods against Iran but failed in all … We are waiting for the new government to find stability and continuity in its policies”, Rouhani said. “The problem is that the Americans do not know our region and those who advise U.S. officials are misleading them”, he continued. U.S. President Donald Trump arrived at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday along with leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries. Trump said Muslim countries must lead the fight against radicalization in a speech during the summit, adding the deadliest attacks have been carried out against Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations by the militant groups. “In sheer numbers the deadliest toll has been exacted on Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations”, he said. “More than 95% of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim”. Trump also said in a speech from Jerusalem on Monday that Iran must immediately stop its financial and military support for “terrorists and militias” and he reiterated that it never be permitted to possess atomic arms. The United States brands Iran a “state sponsor of terrorism.” It says Tehran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war, Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war and the Hezbollah Shia political party and militia in Lebanon have helped destabilize the Middle East.

 

Trump to visit the Vatican, Israel and Saudi Arabia on first foreign trip.

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President Donald Trump said Thursday his first foreign trip later this month will include visits to the Vatican, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, stops that his top aides hope will both combat views of the President abroad and build toward Middle East peace. The stops will come before Trump attends a NATO meeting in Brussels on May 25 and a G7 meeting in Italy on May 26.  “Saudi Arabia is the custodian of the two holiest sites in Islam, and it is there that we will begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our Muslim allies to combat extremism, terrorism and violence, and to embrace a more just and hopeful future for young Muslims in their countries”, Trump said Thursday in announcing his trip.

Rouhani: Iran’s railways can connect Georgia to Persian Gulf.

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President Rouhani made the remarks in meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and said that Iran immediately recognized Georgian independence from the beginning. Rouhani said that the two countries have wide economic, scientific and cultural capacities and capabilities, which are not used well, adding that this visit may prepare grounds for development of ties. Ran may be connection route for Georgia and regional countries to the Persian Gulf, Oman Sea and Indian Ocean and Georgia may facilitate access road to the Black Sea. He said that today transit in the region has special importance and considering connection of Iran’s railways to Astara and Azerbaijan Republic, development of Tehran-Tbilisi cooperation in this field may create developments in the region. President Rouhani said that investors, especially in private sector should be persuaded for reciprocal cooperation and supported. Rouhani pointed to the old ties between the two nations and existing plenty of tourist attractions in the two countries, and called expansion of tourist relations important for both states while underlining the necessity to respect and observe Islamic–Iranian codes with Iranian tourists in Georgia. Concerning regional problems, Rouhani said that today this region is facing a big problem called ‘Terrorism’ so the two countries should increase their cooperation within the framework of confronting and uprooting this problem. Giorgi Kvirikashvili pointed to several years of historical background of relations between  the two countries, and said that political, economic and trade ties are developing between the two states. He reiterated that the existing capacities and capabilities should be used to expand all-out ties.The Georgian prime minister said that the Georgian government and nation have a great deal of respect for Iranian and Muslim believes and culture and never insulted their guests, so it is due that special regulations will be fulfilled in the border area. Kvirikashvili called cooperation in the field of transiting goods important, and underlined Tbilisi’s intention to connect the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea through Iran’s railways and roads. He also called quadrilateral agreement among Iran, Russia, Armenia and Georgia to develop cooperation in the field of electricity “important’ and called for its development

 

Fayyad: We adhere to MuslimChristian coexistence and reject the resurgence of sectarian sensitivities

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Member of the “Loyalty to the Resistance” Parliamentary Bloc, MP Ali Fayyad, stressed on Sunday “adherence to the Muslim-Christian coexistence in the country, and rejection of any resurfacing of sectarian sensitivities. “The goal of the electoral law is to represent various groups properly and fairly, and to open the door to political development, which means that national standards should prevail over sectarian standards”, he added. “Despite the distribution of parliamentary seats equally between Muslims and Christians, and proportionally between sects and regions, yet the parliamentary elections remain open and not limited to sectarian choices”, asserted Fayyad.

Muslim and Jewish extremists barred from old city during Passover

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After receiving intelligence of plans to create disruptions and potential violence in Jerusalem’s Old City during Passover, police have banned some 10 Muslim and Jewish extremists from entering the area until the holiday is over. “Police operations took place to gather information on individuals who are intending to cause disruptions during the Jewish festival”, Rosenfeld said on Thursday. The majority of the suspects are Israeli-Arab extremists who planned to cause disturbances on the Temple Mount. At the same time, we issued a number of retraining orders against Jews who intended on coming to the Western Wall area to create disturbances. For the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall on the morning of April 13, Rosenfeld said more than 100,000 Jews are expected. For the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter on April 15, more than 50,000 Christians are expected, according to Rosenfeld. Police will ensure the security and ease of travel for the tens of thousands of visitors entering and exiting the Old City.

Two killed as female suicide bombers attack Maiduguri mosque.

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After an attack carried on by two female suicide bombers, at least two bodies were found outside a Mosque in Borno State. The two attackers could’t gain much access into the targed mosque, the detonated the explosive in an area called “Jiddari Polo”, and after the first explosion died both the attackers. The injuried were five, a similar attack in the same location was carried out two years ago, that time 18 worshippers were killed.  They were intercepted and prevented by the Muslim worshippers. The injured were rushed to specialist hospital, while the remains of the suicide bombers were equally evacuated by state emergency management agency (SEMA). A second blast was heard from the same location some hours after, but the police spokesman said the sound occurred as ordnance operatives defused the bomb held by the second suicide bomber.

 

Saudi deputy crown prince says Trump is a "true friend of Muslims"

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After the meeting with US President Donald Trump, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince bin Salman hailed US President as a “true friends of Muslims” and affirmed he does not believe that Trump’s ban targets Islam specifically also because as senior adviser to Prince Mohammed said “Trump has an unprecedent and serious intention to work with the Muslim world”. Moreover this meeting marked a difference from Riyadh’s relationship with the Obama administration. In fine the White House has announced that the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and President Trump have discussed potential economic projects worth $200 billion.

Europe will drown in its own fears of Muslims and migrants: President Erdoğan

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Europe will “drown in its own fears of Muslims and migrants”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 15, further hardening his tone just hours after an exchange of words between Ankara and Brussels on the future of a refugee deal. Erdoğan said the “spectre of fascism is roaming” on the streets of Europe, comparing the treatment of non-Europeans there to that of the Jews in World War II. They are scared of everything that is not from there. They are hostile to everything that is not from there”, Erdoğan said. The blocking of Turkish ministers by the Dutch authorities last weekend was followed by protests in Rotterdam, with local police using horses and dogs to disperse demonstrators. The images were widely reported in the Turkish press and prompted an angry reaction from the government.

Netanyahu asked Italy to oppose further UNESCO Jerusalem Resolution

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Benjamin Netanyahu asked Italy to make good on its pledge to oppose any resolutions that ignore Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that will likely continue to come before the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) boards and committees. This morning the Minister of Foreign Affairs met Netanyahu. Last fall, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised Netanyahu that his country would take a stand against the Palestinian drive at UNESCO to refer to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Al-Haram Al-Sharif. Alfano and Netayahu spoke about cooperation between Italy and Israel in particulary in Africa because both governments are helping African countries find solutions to issues relating to water and agriculture.

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