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Taliban travel from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan for talks

In a rare diplomatic foray and the strongest sign yet of the Taliban's increasing political presence in the region, the head of the militant group's political office led a delegation to Uzbekistan to meet senior Foreign Ministry officials, Uzbek and Taliban officials said Saturday. Taliban political chief Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai represented the insurgents in the four-day talks that ended Friday and included meetings with Uzbekistan's Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov as well as its special representative to…

Blast rocks Afghan city killing at least 12

JALALABAD: An explosion in a city in eastern Afghanistan where President Ashraf Ghani was visiting killed at least 12 people, officials said Sunday, in the latest deadly violence to rock the country. Provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said a suicide bomber struck a market, killing at least 12 people and wounding 20. Khogyani said that 10 Afghan Sikhs were among the dead. The death toll was confirmed by interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish, adding the assault was "most probably" carried out by a…

Lionel Messi shown as ‘ISIS captive’ in poster released by terror outfit

MOSCOW: A photo of iconic footballer Lionel Messi has been used by global terror outfit Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in a ‘propaganda poster’ that threatens terror at the Russia World Cup 2018. Published by The Sun, the image is believed to have been released by pro-Isis mouthpiece and is said to be the latest in a series of sick messages aimed at football fans. In the propaganda poster, Barcelona star Messi is seen kneeling down wearing an orange jumpsuit – similar to those worn by people held captive in ISIS…

India says it has confirmed 39 Indians missing in Iraq since 2014 are dead

NEW DELHI: India said on Tuesday that 39 Indians, who were believed to have been kidnapped by Islamic State militants in Iraq in 2014, had been confirmed dead after their bodies were found.  The bodies were recovered from a mass grave and DNA tests had confirmed them to be those of the construction workers who went missing from the Iraqi city of Mosul, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told parliament. “With full proof I can say these 39 are dead,” the minister said. The government had for years said it would only declare…

Key suspect cleared in first trial linked to Paris attacks

PARIS: A man who rented his flat to Islamic State militants was found not guilty on Wednesday in the first trial stemming from the 2015 Paris attacks that left 130 people dead. Prosecutors had been seeking a four-year jail term for Jawad Bendaoud, though more serious terrorism charges had been dropped after they said there was insufficient evidence that he knew the men were terrorists. Bendaoud, a 31-year-old convicted drug dealer from the Paris suburbs, raised his arms in triumph and patted the police officers…

Tillerson says end of combat does not spell end of IS

KUWAIT CITY: Washington's top envoy on Tuesday called on allies to keep fighting the Islamic State group, saying that the end of major combat did not mean "enduring defeat" of the extremists. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke at a ministerial meeting in Kuwait of the US-led military coalition that has been fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, being held in parallel with a conference on reconstruction in Iraq. The terroe group has lost much of the territory it once controlled when it seized large swathes of Syria and…

Iran says three Revolutionary Guards dead, 16 Daesh suspects arrested

TEHRAN: Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards force said three of its soldiers were killed and 16 Daesh militants arrested in clashes Saturday in the south of the country. Its Sepahnews website, citing General Mohammad Pakpour — the head of the Guards' land forces — said, "16 members of the terrorist group were arrested and several of them killed", as well as three Guards in the clashes in Fars province. "The terrorists wanted to carry out attacks on border towns and in the centre of the country," he said. Sepahnews…

Iraq condemns German woman to death for belonging to ISIS

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi court said on Sunday it had condemned to death by hanging a German woman of Moroccan origin after finding her guilty of belonging to the Islamic State group. She was sentenced for providing "logistical support and helping the terrorist group to carry out crimes," said court spokesman Abdel Settar Bayraqdar. "The accused admitted during interrogations that she left Germany for Syria then Iraq to join IS with her two daughters, who married members of the terrorist organisation," he said. In September…

Putin toughens terrorist recruitment sentences

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Friday a bill toughening sentences for terrorist recruitment as the country deals with the issue of returning militants from Syria. Official publication of the law came two days after a bomb attack on a supermarket in Saint Petersburg, Russia's second city, injured 14 people. The new law, which parliament voted through on December 14 and the upper chamber approved on December 26, immediately raises the maximum sentence for terrorist recruitment and finance to life…

Egypt hangs 15 over attacks on security forces: officials

CAIRO: Egyptian authorities on Tuesday executed 15 prisoners convicted of attacks on security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula, police officials said. The men were hanged in two jails where they had been held since military courts sentenced them for the attacks in the Sinai, where militants are waging an insurgency, the officials said. It was the largest mass execution carried out in the North African country since six convicted militants were hanged in 2015. The hangings come a week after the Islamic State…