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Authorities in Pakistan Claim Islamic State (IS) Terrorist Group’s Recruitment Cell Busted in Lahore

The detainees were recruiting young men to send them illegally to Syria via Afghanistan and Iran, the two immediate neighbors of Pakistan sharing long porous frontiers

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FILE - Pakistani suspects allegedly associated with the Islamic State group, wait to appear in an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala, Pakistan, Dec. 29, 2015. On Thursday, authorities in Pakistan announced they captured a group of eight militants operating a recruitment cell. VOA
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Authorities in Pakistan say they have captured a group of eight militants operating a recruitment cell in the country at the behest of the Syrian-based Islamic State terrorist group.

Counterterrorism forces in an overnight operation arrested the men in Lahore, the second-largest Pakistani city and capital of the populous Punjab province, said an official announcement Thursday.

It added that authorities also seized mobile phones, laptops and IS propaganda material.

[bctt tweet=”IS launched its operation in the region in early 2015 after establishing bases in remote eastern border areas of Afghanistan. ” username=””]

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The detainees were recruiting young men to send them illegally to Syria via Afghanistan and Iran, the two immediate neighbors of Pakistan sharing long porous frontiers.

FILE _ Pakistani students shout slogans against the Islamic State group holding a banner that reads "down with Islamic State rally," in Islamabad, Nov. 20, 2014. VOA
FILE _ Pakistani students shout slogans against the Islamic State group holding a banner that reads “down with Islamic State rally,” in Islamabad, Nov. 20, 2014. VOA

The counterterrorism department says the suspects have told interrogators they have already dispatched an unspecified number of fighters and were readying to send a fresh group.

Pakistani officials say that they have arrested hundreds of IS operatives from different cities within the past two years, but they insist the Middle Eastern group has no organized presence in Pakistan.

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IS claimed responsibility for last week’s bomb blast at a Sufi shrine in a remote district in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province. The violence left more than 50 people dead and wounded scores of others.

In late October, three IS suicide bombers raided a police training center in Quetta, the provincial capital, killing at least 60 recruits and wounding more than 100 more.

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IS launched its operation in the region in early 2015 after establishing bases in remote eastern border areas of Afghanistan.

The group calls Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of Iran as its so-called Islamic State of Khorasan Province and allegedly take orders from leaders in Syria. (VOA)

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Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

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Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Fake accounts on Twitter will be identifie too. VOA

Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking steps to police terrorists and hate groups on their sites, but more work needs to be done, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday.

The organization released its annual digital terrorism and hate report card and gave a B-plus to Facebook, a B-minus to Twitter and a C-plus to Google.

Facebook spokeswoman Christine Chen said the company had no comment on the report. Representatives for Google and Twitter did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

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Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said Facebook in particular built “a recognition that bad folks might try to use their platform” as its business model. “There is plenty of material they haven’t dealt with to our satisfaction, but overall, especially in terms of hate, there’s zero tolerance,” Cooper said at a New York City news conference.

Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Wiesenthal Center, said hateful and violent posts on Instagram, which is part of Facebook, are quickly removed, but not before they can be widely shared.

He pointed to Instagram posts threatening terror attacks at the upcoming World Cup in Moscow. Another post promoted suicide attacks with the message, “You only die once. Why not make it martyrdom.”

Cooper said Twitter used to merit an F rating before it started cracking down on Islamic State tweets in 2016. He said the move came after testimony before a congressional committee revealed that “ISIS was delivering 200,000 tweets a day.”

ALSO READ: Teenagers using Social Media more likely to suffer sleep deprivations: Study

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This photo shows Facebook launched on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. VOA

Cooper and Eaton said that as the big tech companies have gotten more aggressive in shutting down accounts that promote terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism, promoters of terrorism and hate have migrated to other sites such as VK.com, a Facebook lookalike that’s based in Russia.

There also are “alt-tech” sites like GoyFundMe, an alternative to GoFundMe, and BitChute, an alternative to Google-owned YouTube, Cooper said.

“If there’s an existing company that will give them a platform without looking too much at the content, they’ll use it,” he said. “But if not, they are attracted to those platforms that have basically no rules.”

The Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and terrorism. (VOA)