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Terror strikes bearing similar hallmarks rock four countries; Tunisia worst hit

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

At least 27 beachgoers were gunned down in Tunisia and one man was decapitated in a factory near Lyon as Islamic extremists struck terror in four countries.

On the same day, a suicide bomber left 25 people dead at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, while al-Shabaab militants killed 30 peacekeepers in Somalia.

As of now, there has been no suggestion that the attacks were coordinated, yet they all bore similar hallmarks.

Interestingly, the attacks come a year after Islamic State officially declared its caliphate in Syria and Iraq and renewed its push to take more territory.

The attacks underline the difficulty security services are facing in tackling what has now become a franchise; the extremist group luring thousands of fighters from the Middle East and Europe.

Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global Associates, which advises clients on risk in the Middle East says that one can expect more of these attacks unfortunately.

“Most of the attacks over the past year have been carried out by lone individuals or small groups and that’s the difficulty here. Dealing with what’s happening requires going back to the root causes, which means tackling the ideology,” Nuseibeh said.

Tunisia saw the deadliest of the attacks as gunmen opened fire on a beach in the Mediterranean tourist town of Sousse.

In Kuwait, a bomb ripped through a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers, echoing recent incidents in Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility of the bombing in Kuwait according to regional television channel Arabiya. In addition to the death toll, the Interior Ministry also said that more than 200 people were injured.

Another attack took place at a gas plant near Lyon in southeastern France where one person was decapitated and two others were injured in an attack on. The attackers beheaded the man and posted the severed head at the factory’s entrance with an inscription in Arabic pinned to it before driving at high speed into gas cannisters.

The attacks in Somalia were claimed by Al-Shabaab. No statement of responsibility for the attacks in Tunisia and France was made.

A year after Islamic State declared a caliphate in areas under its control in Iraq and Syria on June 29, the violence shows the rapid spread of extremism with a number of radical Sunni groups from Egypt to Tunisia and Yemen pledging allegiance to the organisation.

“What the attacks reveal are different tactics on part of groups that all claim adherence to the same organisation,” said Crispin Hawes, Director of Middle East and North Africa practice at Teneo consultancy in London.

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Muslim driver’s Presence of Mind saves 50 Amarnath Yatra Pilgrims during the Terror Attack

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Amarnath Cave Shrine
Pilgrimage to the Amarnath Yatra. Wikimedia

Surat, July 11, 2017: Call it Salim Sheikh Gafoor’s sheer presence of mind or quick thinking, but it saved for sure over 50 Amarnath Yatra pilgrims from certain death during a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, though he himself attributes his heroism to the Almighty.

“The moments I heard the gunshots, I bent down a bit while holding the steering wheel and pressed the accelerator. It seems God gave me a lot of physical and mental strength and I began driving at around 70-80 km per hour,” Sheikh told media persons here on Tuesday while recalling his brush with death along with 50-odd passengers.

“Harshbhai, who was sitting next to me in the bus, was hit by a bullet. The passengers were screaming and asking me to stop the bus. But I didn’t, as had I applied the brakes even for a minute, I knew for sure that nobody in the bus, including me, would survive the attack,” said the Muslim driver, who has been hailed for saving the 50-odd Amarnath pilgrims.

ALSO READ: Terror Strikes Again: 7 Amarnath Pilgrims killed, 32 Injured in a Terror Attack in Anantnag

Expressing sadness over the death of seven pilgrims and injuries to 19 others in the attack on Monday night in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, he recalled that each one of the 60-odd pilgrims in the bus was happy after a ‘darshan’ of Lord Shiva and their visit to Srinagar.

“Unfortunately, it all turned into a tragedy,” Sheikh said.

He said he kept on driving for 2-3 km before halting at the nearest military camp. Thereafter, the Army men took over and helped move the victims inside the camp and rushing the injured to nearby hospitals.

It was only after 9.30 p.m., more than an hour after the attack, that Salim called up his own family.

His cousin Javed Mirza told a local Gujarati television channel: “I am proud of him. Though it is sad he could not save seven pilgrims, but he was able to save more than 50 others.”

As for getting separated from the security convoy before the attack, Sheikh said: “We started from Srinagar around 4 p.m. in the evening but had to take a two-hour stopover as a bus tyre got punctured. We had otherwise decided to halt at a camp for pilgrims near the military camp.”

“Since we got delayed while getting the flat tyre mended, three-four other buses from Uttar Pradesh which were with us drove away with the security while we were left behind,” he said.

Sheikh, who spoke to several television channels on arrival in Surat by a special Indian Air Force aircraft along with bodies of the attack victims and survivors, said he could not see how many terrorists attacked the bus since it was already dark.

Condemning the attack, he said he would be happy if the terrorists involved were killed.

“They must be killed. The security forces personnel told us they will kill the terrorists. We are now waiting for the good news. I will be able to experience peace, sleep well and eat only on receiving the good news (of the killing of terrorists),” he said.

He said it was not the first time but his fifth trip to the holy cave of Amarnath, driving pilgrims on behalf of Om Travels of Valsad in south Gujarat.

The tour began on July 2 and the pilgrims were scheduled to travel to Amarnath and the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Trikuta hills of Jammu and Kashmir, before returning to Valsad.

He said he had ferried the passengers for ‘darshan’ at the Amarnath cave on July 8 and was driving towards Katra on the fateful evening.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who reached Surat airport to receive the bodies of the victims in the afternoon, was all praise for Sheikh and said his government would recommend his name for a bavery award to the Centre.

“I don’t know about that (bravery award) but driving is the only thing I know and only source of income for me. What else can I do? I will continue driving the bus. But for now, the scene (of the attack) keeps playing in front of my eyes,” he said. (IANS)

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Balochistan Suicide Bombing: Provincial Government Falsely blames India for the Attack

A suicide bomber claimed 13 lives in Balochistan. The government claims India is behind the attack

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Provincial government falsely blames India
13 lives claimed as suicide bomber carries out a massive terror attack in Quetta, Balochistan. Twitter
  • A suicide bomber terrorized Balochistan in a terror attack that claimed 13 lives
  • The attack took place near IG of Police Ehsan Mehboob’s office in Quetta
  • The spokesperson of the provincial government has falsely blamed India for the attack

Balochistan, June 23, 2017: A suicide bomber blew up his explosives near IG of Police Ehsan Mehboob’s office on Gulistan Road, Quetta on Friday, June 23. The attack has claimed 13 lives out of which 6 were policemen.

The police spokesperson stated that the blasts were powerful enough to be heard around the city and break nearby buildings’ glasses. An estimated 75 kilograms of explosives were strapped on the car.

The provincial government’s spokesperson, Anwarul Haq Kakar, blamed India for the blasts. However, ISIS’ local affiliate and Tehrik-e-Taliban’s splinter group Jamaat-ut-Ahrar have claimed responsibility dismissing the false accusations made by Kakar.

ALSO READ: 2017 Hindu Human Rights Report Released by Hindu American Foundation (HAF). Here is what you need to know!

PM Nawaz Sharif has condemned the attacks and stated that those behind this terrorism will be punished.

Balochistan remains a contentious region between the separatists and the nationalists, in addition to being plagued by militant violence through numerous extremist groups. The presence of ISIS-affiliated groups is also an issue.

The growing insurgency problem created by extreme nationalists has claimed many civilians’ lives in the past. The 2017 Hindus Human Rights Report published by HAF has highlighted this increasing violence and its impact on minority groups.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Kuwait launches e-platform in 5 Languages to Educate Migrant Workers

The e-platform consists of a website and an application for mobiles that work mainly to address the ill-treatment suffered by the migrant workers, provide them legal support as well as to monitor and document the abuses they are subjected to

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Kuwait launches e-platform to educate migrant workers. Wikimedia
  • The education would be done through cartoons and pictures as well as direct inquiry through the e-platform or hotline
  • Its languages will be Arabic, English, Hindi, Filipino and Urdu
  • It will have information on organisations and embassies that accept workers’ complaints and the procedures and type of assistance provided by them

Kuwait, June 15, 2017: Kuwait has launched an electronic platform in five languages including Hindi and Urdu to educate migrant workers on their legal rights, the Arab Times reported on Wednesday.

Khalid Al Ajmi, Chairman of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights, announced that the education would be done through cartoons and pictures as well as direct inquiry through the e-platform or hotline.

The e-platform consists of a website and an application for mobiles that work mainly to address the ill-treatment suffered by the migrant workers, provide them legal support as well as to monitor and document the abuses they are subjected to.

Its languages will be Arabic, English, Hindi, Filipino and Urdu, the daily said.

ALSO READBangladesh Trains thousands of School Girls to Fight Cyber crimes

“The site … stores information and data and protects the confidentiality of the users. It also provides lawyers the task of responding to all of the workers’ inquiries and complaints.”

The platform aims to educate migrant workers in Kuwait on the rights guaranteed by the local laws and international covenants and treaties as well as to provide legal advice in a language appropriate to them, the report said.

It will have information on organisations and embassies that accept workers’ complaints and the procedures and type of assistance provided by them.

“The project aims at alleviating the violations suffered by migrant workers resulting mainly from the lack of awareness of their rights, especially domestic workers,” the daily said. (IANS)