After that a senior U.S. military official in Kabul, briefing journalists on condition of anonymity, said Russia was giving machine guns and other medium-weight weapons to the Taliban, the Russia’s response is those are nosense allegations, which, considering the lack of any proof on their base, will have no consequences for the attitude of active engagement that Russia has, towards the Afganistan ‘s security problems. During the meeting, Karzai said he hoped Russia’s efforts in helping to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan will continue and that these will eventually lead to direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Lavrov made the remarks during a meeting with the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Moscow on Tuesday to continue cooperation with the aim of empowering Afghan government to garantee stability in its border and to work towards the prosperity of the Afghanistan
The first thing the Palestinian Authority must do to prove it is committed to making peace with Israel is stop rewarding terrorism and stop payments to terrorists and the families of terrorists, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Sean Hannity of Fox News in an exclusive weekend interview. The prime minister told Hannity: “This is the crazy thing: They pay terrorists on a sliding scale, not on the cost of living, but on the cost of killing. The more you kill, the more you get. And it accumulates to vast sums, some of it contributed by Americans, by European governments”. Abbas, to his own people he says, ‘We don’t want a state next to Israel, we want a state instead of Israel”. The prime minister explained that the fact that “many in the region are threatened by that same Iran, and would be immeasurably threatened more by a nuclear-armed Iran” has brought many countries in the region to a “different thinking about Israel”. “The greatest challenge is the challenge of militant Islam of both kinds, the Shiite variety led by Iran, the Sunni variety led by ISIS [the Islamic State]. Both have to be rolled back, but of the two, the greater long-term change is from Iran. It’s a country of 80 million, it’s got oil. It’s developing submarines, it’s developing precision-guided rockets and missiles. It’s developing nuclear weapons, down the line. Satellites”, Netanyahu said, adding that power of that kind in the hands of a “militant Islamic regime” posed a threat to the entire world.
Shiite Muslim pilgrims from Iraq walked for the second day towards the shrine of Imam Musa al-Kadhim in Baghdad’s northern district of Kadhimiya to mark the anniversary of the death of the seventh Shiite Imam. Imam is a title given in Shiite Islam to someone who is the spiritual and political successor of the founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad. Imam Musa al-Kadhim lived in the 8th century in Iraq. Iraqi Shiites mark the anniversary amid tightened security. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi paid a visit to Baghdad Joint Operation on Friday to oversee the security arrangements put in place to safeguard the visitors to the holy shrine. Shiite pilgrims previously have fallen victim to suicide bomb attacks in different parts of the country. The extremist group ISIS especially targets the Shiite pilgrims, whom ISIS deems to be apostates, and therefore legitimate targets.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated two more towns during the ongoing offensive to liberate Raqqa, killing 49 Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the process. The U.S.-led coalition against ISIS supported the SDF with airstrikes in both towns. Clashes between the SDF and ISIS are ongoing in the town of Wadi al-Jalab. Fierce clashes between ISIS militants and SDF fighters on Wednesday resulted in the SDF also securing the villages of al-Hatash, Om al-Tenak, Bir Jarbe, and Jarwa. The SDF announced on Thursday (April 13) the beginning of the fourth phase of the offensive to oust ISIS from the Syrian city of Raqqa and will concentrate on liberating northern Raqqa and Jalab Valley from the militant group.
The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Orientation Directorate issued on Saturday the following statement: “Following the initial statement concerning an army task force carrying out a raid on the town of Arsal, and arresting ten dangerous terrorists, the Command clarifies that during the raid, the task force was attacked by terrorist gunfire, and retaliated in the same fashion, killing the Emir of ISIS terrorist organization in the Qalamoun region, Syrian national Hassan Mleiss. The latter had taken part, along an armed group, in attacking centers for the LAF and invading an ISF building, kidnapping servicemen in the town of Arsal on August 2, 2014.
Thick smoke could been seen billowing over the Old City of Mosul, near the Grand al-Nuri Mosque, as Iraqi forces advance under the U.S.-backed offensive to capture Islamic State’s (ISIS) de facto capital. The battle to free Mosul – between ISIS militants and Iraqi forces – is now in its seventh month and has taken a heavy toll on several hundred thousand civilians trapped in neighborhoods inside the city, still under control of the militants. Iraqi forces are making progress in their offensive to expel ISIS from Mosul but face a complicated urban battle as the militants hide in mosques, homes and hospitals, sheltering among civilians in the city in order to evade airstrikes. The war between ISIS and Iraqi forces is taking a heavy toll on several hundred thousand civilians trapped inside the city, with severely malnourished babies reaching hospitals in government-held areas.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said Thursday it would summon the Turkish ambassador to hand him an official letter of protest at remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan critical of Iraqi paramilitary groups fighting the Islamic State. Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesperson of al-Hashd al-Shaabi , said the remarks are “a violation against an Iraqi security institution” that is “recognized by the parliament and the state”. Al-Hashd al-Shaabi was formed by a decree from Iraq’s top Shia clergy in 2014 to combat the Islamic State militants who took over many regions of Iraq.It won parliament recognition as a national armed force late 2016. The militia, an alliance of more than 60 groups, is currently engaged in fighting against ISIS on the side of the Iraqi government forces, and its expected involvement in the liberation of areas inhabited by Sunnis and Turkmen has aroused international and local fears of sectarian twists. United Nations agencies have occasionally said PMUs were involved in human rights violations during their battles against IS. The Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi fervently defends al-Hashd against criticisms. Earlier in April, Abadi vowed to “cut the hands” of whoever defames al-Hashd al-Shaabi. “They volunteered to defend Iraq and its people based on a fatwa by the clergy”, he said during an event marking the passing of a senior Shia religious figure.
The US State Department has approved a possible sale of military equipment to the Peshmerga to an estimated cost of $295.6 million. The sale would include equipment to fully outfit two Peshmerga light infantry brigades and two support artillery battalions, a statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency detailed on Wednesday. A wide range of equipment was requested for purchase, including machine guns, armoured vehicles, body armour, small arms, chemical weapon detection and protection equipment, medical equipment, MRAPs, and ambulances. The sale would assist in the defeat of ISIS, the statement said, adding it would not “alter the basic military balance in the region”. The sale has not been concluded as of yet.
Iraqi’s army has built a new pontoon bridge over the Tigris river south of Mosul, after flooding had blocked all crossing points, opening an escape route for families fleeing fighting between government forces and Islamic State. The city’s permanent bridges have been largely destroyed during a six-month military campaign to seize back Mosul from the Sunni Muslim Islamists, which overran it in 2014. “Everything is back to normal”, said a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR. Some 20,000 people have escaped from Mosul in the past four days, fewer than before due to the lack of transport, the UNHCR said in a report. Almost 330,000 people have fled Mosul since Iraq started an operation to expel Islamic State in October. They were some of the around 400,000 people still in western Mosul where military forces are trying to dislodge the militants from the Old City. Fighting continued in the Old City where heavy smoke could be seen from the area of the Grand al-Nuri Mosque, from where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” spanning parts of Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi forces continued to fight door-to-door in the Old City of Mosul, as the U.S.-backed offensive to capture the Islamic State’s (ISIS) de facto capital in Iraq entered its seventh month. There were exchanges of gunfire and mortar inside the old city near the Grand al-Nuri Mosque, from where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” spanning parts of Iraq and Syria. “Operations are ongoing, thanks God. They [ISIS militants] carry attacks on our defensive lines, but each time we repel them and they run away, leaving bodies of their dead fighters behind. Minutes ago they launched an attack and we responded by shelling them with mortar rounds, killing two of them and their bodies were left in front of our defensive lines”, Colonel Hussein Lazim Zghayer said. The war between ISIS militants and Iraqi forces is taking a heavy toll on several hundred thousand civilians trapped inside the city, with severely malnourished babies reaching hospitals in government-held areas. About 400,000 civilians, or a quarter of Mosul’s pre-war population, are trapped in the Old City, according to United Nations’ figures.