The number of people displaced from the western side of Mosul has reached up to 281,000 since operations were launched in February to retake that region from Islamic State militants, according to the Iraqi government. The Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement said in a statement on Monday that the “Number of the displaced civilians from western Mosul went up to 281,630 persons, and those were distributed among the ministry camps in the south and east of the city”. “The ministry teams received today 6,855 displaced persons from the west of Nineveh. They were provided shelter at camps of al-Narkezliya, al-Jadaa, al-Haj Ali, al-Madraj, al-Khazer, Hassan Sham and Jamkour”, it added.The statement also indicated that “the ministry provided all essential needs of food and medical requirements at stores, in case more families were displaced from western Mosul”.
In a highly unusual move, Israel shut down the Taba Crossing to Israelis trying to enter Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on the eve of Passover on Monday, citing fears of an imminent terror attack by the Islamic State terror group. Israel announced the closure of the border for at least one week (until next Thursday). However, thousands of Israelis were expected to pass the border for the Passover Holidays. The closure was ordered by Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, after discussion with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and other security officials. Since the official opening of the border in 1982, it had been closed few times, the last one had been in 2014.
A single terrorist attacked Westminster killing four people, included a police officier and wounding 40 other civilians, before being killed. He indiscriminately ran into people with a car on Westminster Bridge. The use of the vehicle to attack civilians was a direct copy of an Islamic State tactic used previously with murderous effect in Nice and Berlin. The initial working theories of the police investigation are the attacker was inspired by Isis and was most likely a “lone actor”.
The Iraqi Migration and Displacement Ministry said Sunday that the number of refugees escaping battles between government troops and Islamic State militants in western Mosul has soared to more than 57000 since operations started last month to clear western Mosul from militants.“The ministry is prepared to receive 100.000 refugees from the western side of Mosul at its camps”, al-Jaff stated.
Following the unprecedented exodus of Coptic citizens from the North Sinai city of Al-Arish due to militants’ threats, the army official spokesperson said in a Facebook statement that forces managed on Monday to kill six militants and arrest 18 suspects in North Sinai in a sweeping operation. According to the statement, the operation targeted terrorists’ stationing points, which led to the discovery of two explosives-storages. “As a continuation to the armed efforts in eliminating terrorists’ stationing points, army forces located in North Sinai managed to kill six militants, arrest 18 suspects, discover two explosives’ storages, and destroy eight improvised explosive devices [IEDs]”, the statement read. Despite these efforts, the wave of violence and militant activity are on the rise. On Sunday, militants, who threatened to punish those who are not accompanied by a male relative, stopped a bus of female teachers in Rafah. The militants told the female teachers that not wearing a veil while going to their workplace and without the accompaniment of a male relative is considered a kind of apostasy. Meanwhile, other anonymous militants—believed to be members of Sinai Province—brought a civilian—suspected to be an informant for the army—to the village of El Hosynat, west of Rafah, and brutally killed him. Since February, seven Copts have been killed in Al-Arish, five of which have been shot and two have been burnt to death. In the latest incident, the corpses of two Coptic citizens have been found thrown behind a state-run language school. Last week, under the name of the “Islamic State in Egypt” and with the headline of “Fight All Infidels”, the IS-affiliated group released a new video, issuing fierce threats against the Coptic citizens of Egypt, accusing them of insulting Islam, and threatening to carry out more attacks against them.
Two gunmen reportedly dressed in Santa costumes struck Istanbul’s Reina nightclub on New Year’s Eve, killing at least 35 people and injuring at least another 45, the BBC reported Dec. 31. The attack is all but certainly inspired by or directed by the Islamic State, one of the three strands of terrorism currently threatening Turkey. At the time of this writing, at least one attacker is reportedly still at large, perhaps in the nightclub. Reina is a popular venue on the Bosporus Strait, and as many as 700 patrons were inside it at the time of the attack