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Islamic State murders 17-year-old Austrian female recruit


London: 17-year-old Samra Kesinovic was murdered by the Islamic State when she tried to escape from Raqqa and the ISIL.

Despite two Austrian newspapers having published news on Kesnikov having been beaten to death, the Austrian Government refused to comment.


Samra Kesinovic, along with 16-year-old Sabina Selimovic, left her home in Vienna in April, 2014, to fight in Syria. “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah – and we will die for him”, said the note they left behind for their parents.

Taking into account, recent reports on Selimovic having been killed in fighting in Syria last year, both young women are now said to be dead.

The girls were traced to Ankara, the Turkish capital, and then went to Adana, near the Syrian border.

The girls’ Bosnian parents, who had reported them missing, suspected they had been brainwashed to join the holy war, reported the The parents were Bosnian refugees who had fled from the war there in the nineties.


Samra and Sabina both became ‘poster girls’ when their photo, showing them holding Kalashnikov rifles and wearing Islamic headbands and surrounded by male jihadists, was used by the ISIL as material to recruit young girls.


They also had another picture online, showing them pointing towards heaven, wearing full Islamic veils.

It was only revealed through a telephone call from Kesinovic to her sister that the girls had joined ISIL. Reportedly, last year, she had written home to say she wanted to return.

It is believed that the girls married ISIL jihadis, but Selimovic denied that she was pregnant in a text message interview with the magazine Paris Match. She however, said that she was happy in Syria.

An unnamed Tunisian woman, an ISIL volunteer who escaped, reported of Selimovic’s murder, according to the Krone Zeitung newspaper. The woman had been living with the two girls in Raqqa.

Pic shows: The alleged Islamic hate preacher Ebu Tejma is accused of being the terrorist mastermind who recruited the two Austrian jihad "poster girls". The alleged Islamic hate preacher arrested in the Austrian capital Vienna as part of a clampdown on extremists is accused of being the terrorist mastermind who recruited the two Austrian jihad "poster girls". Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 16, became radicalised through the cell led by unemployed benefits claimant Ebu Tejma, 33, who lived with his pregnant wife and five children in a council provided flat. It was stuffed with jewellery, cash and savings books worth a fortune when it was stormed by Austria's elite heavily-armed police special forces team WEGA. The valuables had all been provided by Muslims radicalised by the preacher and his cronies in a network that reportedly extended across the country and into the rest of Europe, and his arrest is seen as a major blow against the terrorist group’s activities. According to security forces working together with anti-terror activists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ebu Tejma, whose real name is Mirsad Omerovic, not only recruited the two girls that became the public face of jihad, but was also involved in a further 166 defections of youngsters from Austria to fight in holy war. This is in addition to his fundraising activities that provided a significant money for the terrorist’s coffers. In Bosnia and Herzegovina local newspaper "Vecernje novosti", citing local security service insiders, said he was not only one of 200 leading jihadists, but was also one of the leaders of the so called "Bosnian cell" based in the Meidling district of Vienna that was "one of the most important logistic and financial support centres for jihadist activities in Europe". After the raid it was revealed that Austria been concerned now for years over the fact that the country was becoming a hub for terrorist activities after inviting thousands of Muslim refugees into the country during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, and issuing the vast majority of them with visas. This population provided fertile ground for Ebu Tejma and his network, and from there they expanded the network to Europe too. The influential Austrian newspaper the Krone, with excellent police contacts, said that "there was scarcely a single recruit in Europe for Jihad in which he and his group were not involved". Originally from the small Serbian town of Tutin, Tejma was known in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a preacher of hatred and intolerance, who very soon found himself allied with the extreme form of Islam known as Wahabism, which has been aggressively promoted and heavily funded in former Yugoslavia by Saudi Arabia. That funding also followed Muslim refugees to Austria where it paid for further mosques and Muslim-related associations. In the war-torn and impoverished region, the flood of Saudi Arabian money in the form of relief to their Muslim brothers was welcomed. Few noticed that it was often accompanied with conditions. Muslims who had almost forgotten their faith suddenly had a good reason to return to Islamic values, and the end result was the creation of Sharia villages throughout the country, place where religious law was and still is in force. Family ties between those that fled Bosnia to live in Austria and those in the radicalised Bosnian villages are still strong, and the flow of money and preachers is frequent, and largely underground. Austria already recognised the problem long before the recent raids, and a new Islamic law currently heading towards the statute books in the Alpine Republic is a controversial attempt to make the financing of mosques, and Imans, public and transparent – and to slow it down. But critics say it is already too late, and is only tackling a symptom. Saudi Arabian cash has already followed Muslim refugees to Austria and has funded further mosques and Muslim-related associations, with the same conditions attached. According to Austrian anti-terrorism authorities, the recently arrested Tejma turned up on their radar more than three-years-ago, when he began uploading videos onto his YouTube channel. Although officially unemployed, he was observed driving fast expensive cars and was clearly busy even though officially he had no job. For the past two years, intelligence officials have been tapping his communications, monitoring his phone calls and building up a picture of his network - which then prompted the arrests last Friday. One of those connections is allegedly a direct line to the caliph of Isis terrorism, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from Syria, making Ebu Tejma a very important player in the Austrian jihadist scene. Exactly why Austria is now at the centre of the terrorist activity, recruiting and channelling funds, is not just down to the fact that it is regarded as a hub for money launderers with lax banking laws, but also because of the large number of mostly Muslim refugees who settled in the country after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Austria was on the front line for the flood of refugees and was one of the six European countries that accepted between them 95 percent of those refugees. In part that was from a willingness on the part of the Austrian public to help the refugees who were viewed in a positive light, and a vast number of private donations and offers of help from across the country flooded in. In 1992 alone were 50,000 refugees and in total the official number of refugees was 95,000. They settled in smaller communities, were given access to the labour market and eventually allowed to live in the country. Many settled in Vienna, but from there they spread out to the rest of the country notably in Graz, the picture postcard south-eastern city that is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site nestled in the Styrian mountains - and the closest Austrian city to the border with the former Yugoslavia. In Graz there are now 800 families from the former Balkan states who are part of a flourishing community, with mosques in part funded by those living there, but with the vast amount of funding flooding in from abroad. The brand-new mosque, for example, currently being built in Graz has come from 1.5 million EUR (1.1 million GBP) raised by those living there. But a look at the accounts reveals that the UAE has donated a further 500,000 EUR (390,000 GBP). And even that money officially declared is far from enough to meet the estimated 8 million EUR (6 million GBP) that the project will finally cost, which includes an education centre and Muslim Congress Hall. One of the members of the community who declined to be named said they saw nothing wrong with accepting money from abroad, saying: "We don't get money from the state like the Catholic Church, so why should we not accept money from Muslim countries like Turkey or Egypt if it's offered." There are already two mosques in the region, both of which are under suspicion of being in the control of radical extremists. It had been hoped that the new mosque project might counter that, but with the funding from abroad which often comes tied with the fact that the donors can then nominate the religious teachers that will work there, this now seems a forlorn hope. And while the 8 million EUR mosque project in Graz is a visible sign of Muslim activity in the country, the reality is that many other much less visible signs of Muslim activity have been spreading across the country. Insider sources within the Austrian security services report that there are now some 450 Muslim associations, most of which offer religious services teaching the Koran. The Austrian Islamic community (IGGiOe) claims that there are around 250 local mosque associations, but the real number of both is far higher. A large number of basements and unwanted shops have become prayer rooms that are known only to those who frequent them. No official knows what goes on there, even the IGGiOe is unaware. In various districts in the capital Vienna, these often small and obscure locations are being transformed with the only visible sign the sudden appearance of foreign writing above the door. These are the clubs where the unemployed asylum seekers and refugees gather together for mutual support, and who are fertile ground for the extremist recruiters. Not just Bosnians, but Egyptians, Chechen, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nigerian immigrants both legal and illegal. They share only one thing in common. Their Muslim faith. For most of the week they are silent, but the venues come alive on Friday during the call to prayer, and on Sundays when children are taught the Koran by the religious teachers. Each Sunday as mothers hand their children over to the Imam they say the words: "The flesh belongs to you, the bones to me." In other words: the child that does not pay attention can be hit, but not injured. As part of the operation investigating Ebu Tejma and his aides, Vienna's Altun Alem mosque was one of those that came under observation. While being observed it saw a constant stream of Salafist Muslims, the fastest-growing Islamic movement in the world. It is rooted in the 19th century where it emerged as a way of combating the spread of European ideas and values. But more worryingly in recent years, Salafi methodology has come to be associated with the jihad of extremist groups that advocate the killing of innocent civilians. Security services recorded a constant stream of Salafist preachers, often accompanied by Mujahedin fighters travelling up from Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the mosque and the Imam has been appeared in online videos revealing that it is every Muslims duty to join jihad if an Islamic state is under attack from unbelievers. In cases like this, he argues, it is not even necessary to ask parents for permission, because even that normally essential parental duty take second place to the duty to fight. This is exactly what happened in the case of Samra and Sabina, who left only a note for their worried parents. It was at underground mosques like these that the teenage girls were recruited and the signs were there that they were in danger even before they fled. Messages painted on the walls at school urging fellow believers to follow the call to jihad were traced back to the girls. Sadly, it was a warning that nobody heeded until their parents discovered the notes in their bedrooms. "Don't look for us, we have gone to fight in the holy war." Tejma, described as charismatic man and who speaks excellent German, might also have been stopped sooner. He had dozens of YouTube videos, still online, guiding the faithful and attracting the disaffected to a life of jihad. He was known to have been questioning the faithful in Vienna's mosques about whether they had daughters of marriageable age, presumably to entice and reward the jihadists joining the fight under the black banner of Isis. He told fathers on their way to Friday prayers that he had many contacts that were looking for wives, and told girls that they had a duty to support the men. Samra and Sabina, attending his sermons, were radicalised within a few short months, and travelled to Syria to marry jihadists. The distress that the girl’s parents felt has only been heightened by the fact that both girls have now revealed they made a mistake, and desperately want to return home. But married already, and also both reportedly pregnant, the chances of ever returning home or indeed seeing their parents seem remote. And they are not alone. While security services were monitoring the Altun Alem mosque there was at least one incident in which a young Viennese Muslim father turned up and attacked the mosque and its bodyguards, accusing them of stealing his son who had gone to fight with Isis. He tried to set the place alight, and had been heard to shout that the unholy people inside had "stolen his son". The raids that involved 900 officers resulted in only 13 arrests and it may be too little too late. Islam is already the second largest religious community in Roman Catholic Austria. It is already a part of Austrian life. There are Islamic religious teachers now operating in public schools, there are Islamic school inspectors, and a Religious Teaching Institute at the University of Vienna and teacher training all paid for by the Republic of Austria. Slowly Islamic influence is making itself felt, from court cases demanding the removal of crucifixes in school rooms and public buildings, the Islamic community even recently filed a high-profile court case accusing Lego of making a toy in which the palace of Star Wars bad guy Jabba the Hut looked uncomfortably like a mosque. They demanded it be removed from the shelves. Within their own community the extremists are equally active. One of the arguments is the allegation that Austria does not care about its Muslim community and offers no public money to support its religious activities, in contrast to the Catholic Church which every year gets around 53 million EUR (41 million EUR) in subsidies. For the Austrian church however the reason for the money is a historical one, dating back to the anti-church policies of Joseph II, and later the activities of the Nazis that saw the mass confiscation and destruction of church property. The money being paid is regarded as compensation for that loss, and it is money that also goes to Protestants, and indeed the Israeli cultural community all of whom suffered under the Nazis. Extremists have also been helped in Austria by Muslim parents that have unwittingly given the terrorists their support believing they were protecting their children. Parents who have come to the West from Muslim communities have often been shocked at the behaviour of Western youth. They saw the Koran as the saviour for their own children and only too late realised that this protection from the evils of drugs and alcohol should have come with its own health warning. It meant that Islamic extremists had access to children even before they got to school by being allowed to teach them and instruct them right from kindergarten age. The same children later emerged into a world where the internet allowed them to come into contact with other Muslim brothers and sisters, and in too many cases have been developing sympathy for the IS. Surfing the web in Vienna reveals all too often the addresses of mosques with the same addresses as kindergartens, advertising their services with images of young girls wearing the traditional headgear. From here children go to Austrian Islamic private schools, all of which are education establishments that have the same rights as public schools. Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) has put "counter Islamist tendencies" in Vienna’s kindergartens at the top of its political agenda for the upcoming election. Announcing his campaign for the upcoming Vienna state elections in 2015, leader Heinz-Christian Strache said religious education at kindergarten level needed to be carefully monitored "to counteract dangerous currents". He said 43 percent of teachers responsible for Islamic religious education in Austria were against democracy and in favour of introducing Sharia law. Five percent of Muslim students would consider joining jihad fighters in Syria and Iraq, and 66 percent of Muslims believe that women should not work, regardless of their education. "We need to find out which kindergartens and schools are committed to a violent ideology and may be sending young Muslims off to fight alongside Isis terrorists abroad," a parliamentary motion tabled by the FPOe said. The party also wants to ban "jihadist symbols" and threaten Isis sympathisers with "instant citizenship loss". Vienna’s Saudi School - a private school for Islamic immigrants from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East - is under review by the city council after allegations that it is teaching conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism. A reporter from News magazine got hold of a copy of a school history textbook which is said to contain "a smorgasbord of conspiracy theories and incitement against Jews, Israelis and divergent trends in Islam". News commissioned a translation of the book from Arabic - which has sentences like "the Freemasons were a secret, subversive Jewish organization, which aimed to secure Jewish control of the world". The school has now been asked to provide certified German translations of all its teaching materials by the end of the year. The network of education facilities integrated into the state system and yet often with external funding and influence came into being when the Bosnian Muslims, who were welcomed into the country with open arms, were able to take advantage of a network of Muslim clubs and associations set up from the 1970s by Turkish workers. These fellow Muslims had been imported into the country to provide cheap labour in the country's booming tourism business. And it was in their arrival that the seeds of the current problem were sown. The first mosque in Vienna for the mainly Turkish guest workers was financed with money from Saudi Arabia in 1978. For decades the leader of the Austrian Islamic Centre was a staff member from the Saudi Arabian embassy. The Imam was somebody who had been trained at a Sharia school in Medina in Saudi Arabia. This Saudi money was joined by Turkish money in the 1980s, when the Turkish government decided to take advantage of the many overseas clubs and associations and to bring them under the umbrella of the "Turkish Islamic Union For Cultural and Social Cooperation in Austria". As with the Saudi model, the price of accepting money comes at a cost of accepting Turkish Imans. There are over 100 Turkish backed mosques and associations in Austria, with the second biggest being the Islamic Federation, that follows the political ideology of Milli Gorus, an organisation which because of its activities in Germany has been branded an opponent to integration and it which is under observation by constitutional watchdogs. Other Turkish backed associations in Austria include the traditional anti-Semitic Guelen movement, the union of Islamic cultural centres, and the Turkish Federation, better known as the grey wolves, political extremists and very conservative in their religious approach. All of these associations are effectively paid for by Turkey and under the Turkish Premier, the increasingly extremist Recep Erdogan who has been accused of moving towards orthodox interpretations of Islam. Within the IGGiOe, the Turkish sponsored Muslim groups are the strongest faction. The latest move by the Turkish government has been to further spread their influence via the Turkish preacher schools in Austria, the so-called Imam Hatip Schulen. But this direct approach is also backed up and supported by indirect approaches in controlling Islam in Austria through the religious education officials in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Bosnian Rijaset. The dangers of extremists being created by these teachers comes in the case of Amir Zaidan, regarded as too extremist even for the tolerant Germans. In 2003, he fled Germany where he was registered as an asylum seeker to take up the invitation of the Austrian IGGiOe. He had been forced to leave at the time because of heated debate over his fatwa that ruled that a woman not in the company of a male relative was not allowed to travel further than a camel caravan could from sunrise to sunset. Zaidan heads the Islamic Institute in Vienna, and is active in the training of religious teachers in the country. And now Austria has finally acted. Tejma and 12 others were this week remanded in custody for a further two weeks while the investigations continue. According to state prosecutor Hansjoerg Bacher, the charges they are being investigated over are on suspicion of membership of a terrorist organisation, in "connection with the recruiting of young people for the civil war in Syria". The lawyer for Tejma denies all the charges while police and prosecutors sift through the evidence, and begin questioning his associates. Publicly they say they have struck a major blow against a likely terrorist network - but the arresting officers are clearly worried that there may be others at large. And with 900 officers and a two year operation leading to just 13 arrests, they may well have reason. With 166 Austrians so far known to be fighting in Syria, it is an indication that the network in the Alpine Republic may well still be alive, and even more underground now that its figureheads have been removed. Small wonder that key prosecutors have been put under police protection, and all across the country police are on heightened alert. As the owner of a top hotel in an Austrian ski resort revealed this week, in what might be a taste of things to come: "I had no idea Austria even had a problem with these people until I had my web page hacked. Then I got a bomb threat and the police were all over the place looking for explosives. It’s really what I don’t need in the run up to Christmas." (ends)
Accused preacher (source:

A Bosnian Islamic preacher, also known as Abu Tejda, who lives in Vienna, has been accused of carrying out the recruitment of the two teens.

He has denied any accusation.



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We Will make you Zero To Hero: This is how Jihadist ISIS Lures Western potential Recruits

The Chicago Project on Security and Threats has concluded that ISIS often targets Western recruits with heroic outcomes

ISIS actively Lures Recruits from the West for its Jihadi Agenda
FILE - Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, north Syria, June 30, 2014. VOA

Beyond the slick, Hollywood-style cinematics, the Islamic State is targeting Western recruits with videos suggesting they, too, can be heroes like Bruce Willis’ character in Die Hard.

That’s the conclusion of The Chicago Project on Security and Threats, which analyzed some 1,400 videos released by IS between 2013 and 2016. Researchers who watched and catalogued them all said there is more to the recruitment effort than just sophisticated videography, and it’s not necessarily all about Islam.

Instead, Robert Pape, who directs the security center, said the extremist group is targeting Westerners — especially recent Muslim converts — with videos that follow, nearly step-by-step, a screenwriter’s standard blueprint for heroic storytelling.

ISIS targets Western recruits with Hollywood style heroism
Islamic State is recruiting Westerns by using Hollywood-style cinematics, like that seen in the story of “Wonder Woman,” in which a character learns his or her own powers through the course of their reluctant journey to be hero. VOA

“It’s the heroic screenplay journey, the same thing that’s in Wonder Woman, where you have someone who is learning his or her own powers through the course of their reluctant journey to be hero,” Pape said.

Heroic storytelling

The project at the University of Chicago separately has assembled a database of people who have been indicted in the United States for activities related to IS. Thirty-six percent were recent converts to Islam and did not come from established Muslim communities, according to the project. Eighty-three percent watched IS videos, the project said.

Bruce Willis in movie Die Hard 4.0
FILE – U.S. actor Bruce Willis poses for the photographers during a photo call for his new movie “Die Hard 4.0” in Berlin, Germany, June 18, 2007. VOA

The group’s success in using heroic storytelling is prompting copycats, Pape said. The research shows al-Qaida’s Syria affiliate has been mimicking IS’ heroic narrative approach in its own recruitment films. “We have a pattern that’s emerging,” Pape said.

Intelligence and law enforcement officials aren’t sure the approach is all that new. They say IS has been using any method that works to recruit Westerners. Other terrorism researchers think IS’ message is still firmly rooted in religious extremism.

Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks messaging by militant groups, agrees that IS makes strong, visual appeals resembling Hollywood movies and video games, making its media operation more successful than al-Qaida’s. And IS videos can attract hero wannabes, she said.

“However, these features of IS media are only assets to a core message it uses to recruit,” Katz said. “At the foundation of IS recruitment propaganda is not so much the promise to be a Hollywood-esque hero, but a religious hero. There is a big difference between the two.”

Promise of martyrdom

When a fighter sits in front of a camera and calls for attacks, Katz said, he will likely frame it as revenge for Muslims killed or oppressed somewhere in the world. The message is designed to depict any terror attack in that nation as justified and allow the attacker to die as a martyr, she said.

The promise of religious martyrdom is powerful to anybody regardless of whether they are rich or poor, happy or unhappy, steeped in religion or not at all, she said.

Pape said he knows he’s challenging conventional wisdom when he says Westerners are being coaxed to join IS ranks not because of religious beliefs, but because of the group’s message of personal empowerment and Western concepts of individualism.

How else can one explain Western attackers’ loose connections to Islam, or their scarce knowledge of IS’s strict, conservative Sharia law, he asked. IS is embracing, not rejecting, Western culture and ideals, to mobilize Americans, he said.

“This is a journey like Clint Eastwood,” Pape said, recalling Eastwood’s 1970s performance in High Plains Drifter about a stranger who doles out justice in a corrupt mining town. “When Clint Eastwood goes in to save the town, he’s not doing it because he loves them. He even has contempt for the people he’s saving. He’s saving it because he’s superior,” Pape said.

“That’s Bruce Willis in Die Hard. That’s Wonder Woman. … Hollywood has figured out that’s what puts hundreds of millions in theater seats,” Pape said. “IS has figured out that’s how to get Westerners.”

12-step guide

Pape said the narrative in the recruitment videos targeting westerners closely tracks Chris Vogler’s 12-step guide titled “The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.” The book is based on a narrative identified by scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama and other storytelling.

Step No. 1 in Vogler’s guide is portraying a character in his “ordinary world.”

An example is a March 25, 2016, video released by al-Qaida’s Syria branch about a young British man with roots in the Indian community. It starts: “Let us tell you the story of a real man … Abu Basir, as we knew him, came from central London. He was a graduate of law and a teacher by profession.”

Vogler’s ninth step is about how the hero survives death, emerging from battle to begin a transformation, sometimes with a prize.

In the al-Qaida video, the Brit runs through sniper fire in battle. He then lays down his weapon and picks up a pen to start his new vocation blogging and posting Twitter messages for the cause.

‘Zero to hero’

Matthew Levitt, a terrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says it doesn’t surprise him that IS would capitalize on what he dubs the “zero to hero” strategy because the organization is very pragmatic and accepts recruits regardless of their commitment to Islamic extremism.

Heroic aspirations are only one reason for joining the ranks of IS, he said. Criminals also seek the cover of IS to commit crimes. Others sign up because they want to belong to something.

“I’ve never seen a case of radicalization that was 100 percent one way or the other,” Levitt said. (VOA)

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US Backtracks on Iraqi, Kurd Cease-fire Claim

An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri
An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq. VOA

Iraq, October 27: The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State announced Friday morning a cease-fire between Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in Northern Iraq but quickly backtracked on the claim, saying it is not an “official” cease-fire.

Army spokesman Ryan Dillon posted a clarification on Twitter to say “both parties (are) talking with one another,” but that a “cease-fire” had not been reached.

The Iraqi military and the Kurdish minority have been clashing for several weeks after the Iraqi troops moved to secure areas in northern Iraq that had been seized from IS jihadists by Kurdish forces. The Kurdish forces abandoned the land largely without resistance, though low-level clashes have been reported.

Iraqi PM rejects Kurdish offer

The areas Iraqi forces are moving into were mostly under Baghdad’s control in 2014, when Islamic State militants swept into the region. Kurdish Peshmerga and coalition forces recaptured the lands, and the Kurdistan Region has since held them.

The Iraqi leadership said it is retaking the areas to establish federal authority after a Kurdish referendum for independence in September threatened the nation’s unity. More than 92 percent of Kurds in Iraq voted “yes” in a vote Baghdad called illegal, and the international community leaders said was dangerous and ill-timed.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday rejected an offer by Kurdish leaders to freeze the results of their independence referendum in favor of dialogue in order to avoid further conflict.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, in a statement, said the confrontations have hurt both sides and could lead to ongoing bloodshed and social unrest in Iraq.

“Certainly, continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos, affecting all aspects of life,” the KRG said.

‘Unified Iraq is the only way to go’

Abadi said in a statement his government will accept only the annulment of the referendum and respect for the constitution.

During a briefing Friday morning at the Pentagon, Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. told reporters the U.S. believes “a unified Iraq is the only way to go forward.”

He added, “We’re not helping anyone attack anyone else inside Iraq, either the Kurds or the Iraqis.”(VOA)

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Indians Missing in Mosul: V.K. Singh in Iraq to Co-ordinate Search Opertion

V.K Singh will co-ordinate search operation for 39 Indian
V.K Singh will co-ordinate search operation for 39 Indians who went Missing in Mosul. IANS

New Delhi, October 27: After the government sought DNA samples from the next of kin of the 39 Indians Missing in Mosul, Iraq three years ago, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh is again visiting the country to seek an update.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveeh Kumar said on Friday that Singh’s visit “is to talk to people”.

“He has met a range of people in Iraq. And also to get an update on the 39 missing Indians in Iraq,” Kumar said in his weekly media briefing here.

He said that on Thursday Singh was in Mosul city where the Indians went missing.

Last week, the families of the 39 Indians were asked to provide their DNA samples but no reason was provided, the kin said.

It was in June 2014 that the 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, went missing in Mosul town when it was overrun by the Islamic State. Their families continue to hope the men are alive but also fear the worst.

Singh had visited Iraq in July too in this connection.(IANS)