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Libya talks on potential Algerian help at the 5+5 defence meeting in Algiers

The eighth defence meeting of the 5+5 group of western Mediterranean countries took place in Algiers, attended by chiefs of staff or military representatives from the ten countries. The main discussions were on the fight against terrorism, organised crime, and the flow of migrants through North Africa to Europe. On the sidelines of the meeting, the Libyan representative, Major-General Mohamed Al-Ajtal, talked Algeria’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Defence Minister Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaid Salah on potential Algerian help in restoring security and stability in Libya and improving border security between the two countries.

Indonesia considering new anti-terrorism legislation. Fears of repercussions on the human-rights

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 After the attacks that hit Jakarta last week, concluded with the death of four civilians and four attackers, Indonesian President Joko Widodo asked yesterday the review of anti-terrorism laws in force in the archipelago.

The proposed amendment would clearly go in the direction of a tightening of security controls, and allows security forces to immediately arrest any person suspected of planning terrorist attacks. The police fear that Indonesian jihadists engaged in Middle – East and North Africa may return home to prepare new attacks.

The proposal has generated concerns because many feel that a new more restrictive anti-terrorism law could lead to an excessive increase of the controls and be used as a tool of repression in a country that has already suffered from the weakness of its rule of law.

The new legislation would also allow the police to detain suspects for more than a week (current limit), without charge, and would make illegal any military activity with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. According to local authorities estimates, some 500 Indonesians have already left to fight as foreign fighters alongside jihadists of Daesh. 100 of these have already returned without having gained ,however, in most cases, combat experience.

The reform advocated by President Widodo should be approved quickly enough, given the cross support expressed by the majority of political forces represented in Parliament. Only some opposition parties have expressed their fears for a change that could result in suppression of dissent and freedom of expression. Along the same lines were, concerns were expressed by human rights organizations and radical Islamic groups.

It is feared that, in the wake of the attacks, the country can take a step back on the path of democracy, giving the police powers similar to those exercised during the 32 years of bloody dictatorship of General Suharto, when hundreds of thousands of dissidents accused of communism were persecuted and brutally murdered by militia supported by the regime.

Indonesia, the police on the trail of the terrorist network

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In the aftermath of the Jakarta attacks, claimed by the Islamic State, which left five dead on the ground among  the bombers and civilian casualties (a local citizen and a Canadian), the Indonesian police has been able to identify some of the terrorists that were killed and performed the first arrests, around the capital and in other regions of the country.

The attack started on Thursday morning at 10.40 local time, with a series of six explosions in quick succession, in a commercial area of ​​the Indonesian capital. Two attackers opened fire on customers of a Starbucks coffee shop hit by one of the explosions, while two suicide bombers blew themselves up near a road junction where several policemen were stationating. The police responded quickly surroundig  the area and attacking the jihadists with the help of cars and armored vehicles. The shooting lasted for several hours, until the three terrorists, after being holed up in a movie theater, were killed by the police.

The attack was claimed by ISIS with a statement online. According to local police, the attacks were organized and directed by Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian jihadist fighting with the ISIS in Syria that aims to become the leader of the organization in the Southeast Asia.

General Badrodin Haiti, the national police chief, said that two of the bombers were convicted and jailed in the past for activities linked to radical Islamism and has released the name of one of the two, Afif Sunakim, which had previously granted a sentence of seven years. The head of the Jakarta Police, Inspector General Tito Karnavian, then revealed that in the capital were ongoing counterterrorism operations to capture the members of some cells ready to go into action.

In his claim, ISIS explained that the purpose of the attacks was hit Indonesia for its support to the international coalition fighting Daesh in Syria and Iraq. According to the Indonesian police, the group that organized the attacks is connected with other cells operating in the country, in Java and Sulawesi. Naim, specifically, would be connected to MIT, a jihadist group active Indonesian island of Sulawesi that declares to be ally of the Islamic State. Since 2002, the year of a bloody attack in Bali which killed 202 people, Indonesia has always kept his guard high, arresting a total of over a thousand people in the context of counter-terrorism operations. Some jihadists, however, have been released over the years, and the attacks on Thursday, said the police chief, demonstrate how they can still pose a real danger.

According to the head of the national police Haiti, the last attack represent a quantum leap in the confrontation between security forces and Islamic extremism. The fact that a direct link between ISIS and local groups has emerged is a worrying and and major change. Investigators also believe that the action was organized and funded directlyfrom Syria, through Bahrun Naim.

Even the president of Indonesia Joko Widodo made its voice heard, after the attacks, with a tweet: “There is no place for terrorism on Earth – he wrote – and every citizen in the world” needed to fight it.

Egypt: the “bloody” Red Sea

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Yesterday, 3 foreign tourists were stabbed at Bella Vista Hotel by two suspected Daesh militants. The attack occurred in Hurghada, at a Egyptian Red Sea resort. One of the jihadist was killed by the police (Mohamed Hassan Mohamed Mahfouz, 22, student), while the other injured. As reported by local police, they were also armed with gun, explosives belt and an ISIS flag. While sources told the BBC their purpose was to kidnap tourists.

This assault happened after attack close to the Pyramids of Giza last Thursday, during Coptic Orthodox Christians celebration, and raid against a tourist bus carrying Israelis. Both of them were claimed by Islamic State.

Thailand-Japan: together against terrorism

Asia @en di

Monday, November 16, as part of the bilateral talks at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum of Manila, the Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida have reached a preliminary agreement for cooperation in the fight against international terrorism. The agreement comes in response to the attacks that have bloodied Paris on the night of Friday and to the attack suffered by the Thai capital in August, which killed 20 people.

 

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” The international community – said Kishida – should be united to resolutely condemn the terrorist acts”. The two ministers then promised closer cooperation between their countries in the fight against the terrorist threat.

4500 Japanese companies operates in Thailand and over 60,000 Japanese citizens live and work in the country. Foreign Minister Kishida has therefore asked the Thai government to do everything is possible to ensure the safety of its citizens and to protect Nipponese investments. At the same time, he confirmed the support of his government for the development of new infrastructure in the country of Southeast Asia, starting from the rail network.

The meeting also focused on the South China Sea issue and tensions involving the powers of the area, for the control of maritime communications. Keshida hopes that ASEAN, the Association of South-East Asian Nations, launches a joint appeal at the next summit in Kuala Lumpur to demand greater regional stability and respect for the rule of law.

Japan, in fact, is directly interested in the dispute. Although Tokio has not territorial claims, It considers crucial for japanase economy to ensure free navigation on the South China Sea waters and is putting pressure on the Southeast Asia countries to create a joint front that could limit Chinese expansionism. A difficult goal to achieve since Beijing is acting in parallel, on the diplomatic front, to strengthen its positions and weaken the ASEAN countries claims.

Even the Asian stocks initially suffered the effects of the Paris attacks, with substantial losses on Monday, when the markets opened. Fear was short-lived, on the financial markets, and already on Tuesday the main lists of the continent were back in positive territory, with gains over 1%, after the European and US stock markets recorded a first bounce.

 

Luca Marchesini

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Egypt: bomb attacks, at least 30 injured

At least 30 injured, 6 of which were policemen, after that Egyptian security building and a courthouse were hit by three car bombs in Cairo at 2:00: “A man suddenly stopped his car in front of the state security building, jumped out of it and fled on a motorbike that followed the car,” Ministry of Internal Affairs explained.

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But responsability could not be jihadist. In fact, Black Bloc group claim attempt: “We announce our full and complete responsibility for the explosions which occurred a few hours ago, “ they said on Facebook. They also explained that this action is the answer to several imprisonment people because of their political crimes.

After anti-terrorism laws wanted by al Sisi three days ago, this attempt is an obvious reply to Egyptian government. Especially because it should the first violent attack anti-islamist in this country if claim of responsability were proved.
Giacomo Pratali

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Premier Valls: “France faces more attacks”

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Yassin Salhi, the guilty of attack on a factory near Lyon, was arrested. He had been already investigated in the past about his alleged links with Islamist militants.

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“We have no doubt that the attack was to blow up the building. It bears the hallmarks of a terrorist attack”. This French President Hollande said the day after factory attack near Lyon, where the owner was beheaded. “We have to learn to live with terrorism”, Prime Minister Valls instead denounced.

Meanwhile, terrorist action’s guilty, the Moroccan Yassin Salhi, was arrested and confessed to killing his boss, Hervè Cornara. Even the man’s wife was banged-up. The other attacker, probably of Syrian nationality, has not already found.

Salhi has moved on Paris special terrorism. French police just knew him because he was close to a Salif movement in 2006.
Giacomo Pratali

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