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ISIS vows to attack Washington, Europe in new video


A new propaganda video released by the ISIS has warned of attacks on Washington D.C. and other countries involved in the international coalition bombing its militant strongholds in Syria and Iraq, days after the terrorist outfit took responsibility for the deadly attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead and scores injured.

“We say to the states that take part in the crusader campaign that, by God, you will have a day God willing, like France’s and by God, as we struck France in the centre of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its centre in Washington,” one ISIS man in the video can be seen as saying.

Another man also warned Europe that more attacks were in the offing.

“I say to the European countries that we are coming, coming with booby traps and explosives, coming with explosive belts and (gun) silencers and you will be unable to stop us because today we are much stronger than before,” he said.

Meanwhile, a total of 23 people are in custody with seven detainees identified following a massive manhunt that continued on Monday for surviving members and accomplices suspected to be involved in the Paris terror attacks that claimed 129 lives, media reported.

Belgian special operations forces made an arrest during a raid in Molenbeek, a suburb of Brussels, but failed to apprehend main suspect Belgian-born French national Salah Abdeslam, sought by French authorities, the Belgian federal justice was quoted as saying by state broadcaster RTBF.

However, conflicting reports by another Belgian state-broadcaster RTL claimed that Abdeslam, 26, was arrested after he was seen at a window of a building with his arms up in the air, before police used tear gas to neutralise him.

Details of how Abdeslam was involved in the attack were not disclosed.

The search for the perpetrators of the Paris attacks led authorities across the Belgian border to Molenbeek, impoverished suburb of Brussels with a history of links to terror plots, CNN reported.

At least two roads in Molenbeek, a suburb of the Belgian capital with a substantial Muslim population of mostly Moroccan and Turkish immigrants, were cordoned off by the police in an active standoff since the early hours of Monday.

Belgium’s Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said there would be “more action” in Molenbeek — and urged intelligence services across the rest of Europe “to exchange more and more intelligence”, Sky News reported.

The stand-off came as Belgian national Abdelhamid Abaaoud was named the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks. Abaaoud, currently in Syria, was reportedly also linked to thwarted attacks on a Paris-bound high-speed train and a church.

Meanwhile, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said “war” had been declared on France, and that “Anybody who attacks the Republic, the Republic will fight back”.

Cazenueve has ordered 104 people to be put under house arrest since the Paris attacks. More than 150 police anti-terror raids conducted in cities across France.

Five of the detainees were identified over the weekend, and on Monday another two were named by the Paris prosecutor as Ahmad al-Mohammad and Samy Amimour.

Al-Mohammad is the name on a Syrian passport found with the remains of one of the attackers, though the man’s identity has not yet been verified. The other attackers so far named are all from Europe.

Amimour was said to be facing terrorism charges in France.

Three teams of terrorists staged coordinated attacks at six locations across Paris on November 13, including a concert hall, the Stade de France and at least two restaurants. At least 129 people were killed and 352 others wounded in the attacks. Ninety-nine of the wounded are reported to be in very serious condition.

Two of the total seven dead attackers were identified as Ismael Omar Mostefai, 29, and Bilal Hafdi, aged 20.

In retaliation, the French Air Force carried out bombing missions over ISIS’ stronghold in Syria Raqqa on Sunday and Monday against strategic targets. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

(With inputs from IANS)

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

Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. 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.”

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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, 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)