Resources updated between Monday, April 06, 2015 and Sunday, April 12, 2015
April 10, 2015
Militants fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq have savagely executed 10 doctors who refused to treat wounded members of the terrorist organisation.
A photograph taken in the battle-ravaged area 15 miles south of the extremists' northern Iraqi stronghold Mosul captures the moment fighters killed several of the doctors with a bullet to the head.
ISIS jihadis are understood to have been fighting local groups in the Hammam al-Alil area when several of them sustained injuries requiring medical treatment. When the doctors refused on the grounds they do not support the terror group's activities, the men were brutally murdered.
Details of the doctors' brutal murders in the northern Iraqi desert were reported by the country's Al-Sumaria satellite television network.
Local official Mowaffaq Hamid al-Azawi described the city of Mosul as a big open-air prison, where residents are subjected to barbaric torture at the hands of the ISIS terrorists.
The news comes as the jihadis reportedly executed 60 Sunni tribal fighters in Iraq's Anbar province.
April 9, 2015
An Afghan woman who was forced to marry her rapist and have his baby has revealed how she gave up all of her hopes and dreams to 'buy' her daughter's future.
Known only by the name Gulnaz, the Kabul-based woman was only 16-years-old when she fell pregnant with the child of her depraved attacker Asadullah - who is also married to her cousin.
Even though a rape led to her pregnancy, Gulnaz's brothers insisted she would not be allowed to return to her 'shamed' family as she was unmarried and a Kabul court sentenced her to two years in prison for 'adultery by force', later increased to 12 years following an appeal.
The only hope of a reduced sentence was to marry Asadullah, which she did in early 2013. Now she is pregnant with his third child but insists she only agreed to marry her rapist so that her first daughter - named Smile - could live a shame-free life in the Afghan capital's 'traditional' society.
'I didn't want to ruin the life of my daughter or leave myself helpless so I agreed to marry him,' she said.
'We are traditional people. When we get a bad name, we prefer death to living with that name in society,' Gulnaz added, reportedly refusing to look her husband in the eye during the interview.
Asadullah - who was jailed for the rape but subsequently had sentence reduced - appears totally remorseless about his crime.
He insists that by agreeing to marry her, he actually 'rescued' Gulnaz.
'If I hadn't married her according to our traditions, she couldn't have lived back in society,' he said.
'Her brothers didn't want to accept her back. Now, she doesn't have any of those problems,' he added.
Asadullah is still married to his first wife - Gulnaz's first cousin - with whom he has five children.
In total seven children and three adults live in the family house.
Gulnaz was found guilty of 'adultery by force' following the brutal attack in 2008.
When the case came to court Gulnaz was sentenced to two years in jail, which was later increased to 12 years on appeal.
A first release offer, which she eventually agreed to, stipulated she must marry her attacker.
However her sentence was then cut to three years after a third appeal, and, according to reports at the time, the requirement for her to marry the man, who himself was jailed for seven years, was dropped.
Gulnaz gave birth to her daughter in the Badam Bagh women's jail in Kabul before then President Hamid Karzai took the highly unusual step of freeing her with no pre-conditions in December 2011.
Released from prison, Gulnaz faced a life of isolation and poverty as mothers without husbands are shunned by their communities and their own families and become social outcasts.
Although there was no longer a legal obligation for her to so, Gulnaz later approached the rapist's family to arrange the terms of marriage and give Smile the best chance of a normal life.
Chinese hospitals are harvesting up to 11,000 organs from political prisoners without anaesthetic every year, according to a new documentary.
Some patients were still alive as they were secretly placed into incinerators in hospital boiler rooms after parts of their bodies had been removed, it has been claimed.
One former medical student revealed how 'blood was still running' as he cut through a body while a health worker told how her husband, a surgeon, had removed corneas from 2,000 people while they were still alive.
The harrowing details were revealed in the SBS Dateline documentary Human Harvest: China's Organ Trafficking which charted an eight year investigation in to what is said to be a multi-billion pound 'organs-on-demand' transplant programme.
It reveals Red Cross estimations that just 37 people are registered organ donors in China, even though the country has the second highest rate of transplants in the world.
Human Rights lawyer and Nobel peace prize nominee David Matas told Leon Lee's documentary that political prisoners make up the huge difference in the figures – with the banned religious group, the Falun Gong, a key target.
'Somebody's being killed for the organs. There's no other way to explain what's happening,' he said.
Mr Matas added that this explained the short wait for transplants in the country.
'Everywhere else in the world it would be months and years. When you book a transplant in advance, for a heart transplant, and you go to China and you get a transplant within a few days.'
The documentary claims that doctors and medical students in state-run military and civilian hospitals are taking thousands of organs a year from donors while they are still alive.
One former health worker is quoted as saying: 'I testify to the atrocious crime that the hospital committed in removing livers and corneas from living Falun Gong members.
'Some of them were still alive when they were secretly burnt in the incinerator that was in the boiler room.'
One medical student revealed how he took a liver and two kidneys from one person in an operation that took 30 minutes.
Chinese officials have denied the allegations, saying that organs are taken from volunteers, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
SBS quotes Health Minister Jiefu Huang as having said in a previous state television interview: 'The main source of our organs is from death row prisoners.'
But China's government last year vowed that this programme would be wound up by August this year.
Officials have faced criticism over the use of death row prisoners, but human rights lawyers involved in the investigation want further action with those responsible brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
"Israel froze [tax revenue collected on the behalf of the Palestinian Authority] in December after the PA decided to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague and thereby instigate proceedings against Israel for alleged war crimes...
But, as on previous occasions, Israeli punitive reactions are short-lived – no matter how justified. This time, too, the government relented following pressure from Washington and handed over to Ramallah NIS 1.37 billion.
But Israel held back a symbolic NIS 160,000 to defray a fraction of the PA's NIS 2b. debt to the Israel Electric Corporation. The PA is also in massive arrears to Mekorot for water piped to it and to Israeli hospitals for unpaid medical bills.
According to PA President Mahmoud Abbas's arithmetic, however, this token deduction amounts to 'a full third of the total.' Therefore, he said, he refuses to accept any of the money and is prepared to take Israel to the ICC over the matter. The Palestinian media, which Abbas controls, is already rife with threats that 'Israel's thieving would be the first war crime on which it would be tried internationally.'
It might be absurd to presume that collecting a small portion of enormous outstanding utility bills can be portrayed as a war crime. But what holds true for other nations is not so in Israel's case...
It might make for fascinating legal high jinks if Abbas does press this matter at the ICC, after having brazenly racked up alarming debts and then gallingly waited quite content to have Israelis pick up his regime's tab. It would be interesting to see if anti-Israel bias could move jurists abroad to actually rule that it is an inalienable Palestinian right not to pay any bills but to enjoy free electricity, as well as other utilities and services, at the direct expense of Israeli consumers.
It is safe to assume that no such precedent exists in the annals of jurisprudence. Still, serial non-fulfillment of financial obligations by the Palestinians – in many spheres, not only vis-à-vis the IEC – has not dampened Ramallah's chutzpah."
The PA's Audacity Article
The Red Cross warned of a "catastrophic" situation in Yemen's main southern city Aden, as forces loyal to the president battled Iran-backed Shiite rebels in the streets.
The Huthi rebels and their allies made a new push on a port in the central Mualla district of the city, but were forced back by militia supporting President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, witnesses said.
Naval forces of the Saudi-led coalition, which has carried out nearly two weeks of air strikes in support of Hadi, shelled rebel positions across the city, the witnesses said, though the coalition denied launching a naval combat operation.
International Committee of the Red Cross spokeswoman Marie Claire Feghali said the humanitarian situation across Yemen was "very difficult... (with) naval, air and ground routes cut off."
The situation in Aden was "catastrophic to say the least".
"The war in Aden is on every street, in every corner... Many are unable to escape," she said. General Ahmed Assiri, spokesman for the coalition, however, said many parts of the city remained "stable".
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the situation was "worsening by the day".
Medics in Aden had "not received large numbers of casualties over the past few days... due to the difficulties faced in trying to reach a hospital," said MSF's Marie-Elisabeth Ingres. MSF has a team of 140 local staff and eight expatriates at a hospital in Aden.
"Our priority is to find a way to send a supporting medical team," Ingres told AFP, adding a team was waiting in Djibouti "for a green light from the coalition".
Assiri said later that permits had been issued for a boat carrying aid and medics from Djibouti.
The Red Cross hopes to deliver to Sanaa on Wednesday 16 tonnes of medical aid on a plane loaded in Jordan. Another plane carrying twice as much could follow the next day.
- Death toll mounts -
Two students were killed and several others wounded Tuesday when a rocket hit a school near Al-Hamza military base in the southwestern Ibb province, an official said, adding it was unclear if the school was hit in an air strike or by Huthi artillery.
Rebel-controlled Saba news agency accused coalition warplanes of hitting the school.
Coalition strikes killed at least eight Huthis north of Aden, a military source said, as raids also targeted air defence posts in Taez province, as well as Al-Sadrayn military base in Daleh province.
On Monday night, Saudi-led warplanes struck the rebel-held Al-Anad air base north of Aden, a general said, while to the east, Al-Qaeda's Yemen franchise sought to tighten its grip on Hadramawt province.
Loud explosions were heard as the jihadists attacked an army base in the provincial capital Mukalla, much of which they captured last week.
Meanwhile, 10 Huthis and three tribesmen were killed in Shabwa, according to tribal sources. Fighting in Aden left at least 10 people dead, adding to the 53 people killed in the previous 24 hours.
Nationwide, more than 540 people have died and 1,700 wounded since March 19, the World Health Organization said.
At least 74 children had been killed since the coalition strikes began on March 26 -- though the real figure is thought to be much higher -- and more than 100,000 displaced, according to the UN.
- US 'expedites weapons deliveries' -
Observers have warned Al-Qaeda could exploit the fighting to expand its control following the withdrawal of US troops overseeing a longstanding drone war against it.
The US, which sees Al-Qaeda's Yemen franchise as its most dangerous, has "expedited weapons deliveries" in support of the Saudi-led coalition, said Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The Gulf states are also pushing for UN sanctions to be imposed on Huthi leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi and ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh's eldest son, Ahmed, adding them to a list of three others, including the former president, hit by a global travel ban and asset feeze in November.
The evacuation of foreigners continued with three Indian planes carrying 604 passengers, including some Yemenis, from Sanaa to Djibouti.
Pakistan's navy also said it evacuated 146 nationals and 36 foreigners.
Islamabad said it would take its time deciding whether to accept a Saudi request to join the coalition, which so far consists of nine Arab -- mostly Sunni -- countries.
Pakistan's neighbour Iran -- the main Shiite power -- has strongly criticised the intervention and rejected accusations it is arming the rebels.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was "not in a hurry" to decide and that diplomatic efforts were under way involving Turkey and Iran.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has expressed support for the coalition without providing military forces, held talks in Tehran on Tuesday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is expected in Islamabad on Wednesday. Pakistan faces a tricky dilemma, as it has long enjoyed close ties with Riyadh and has benefited hugely from the oil-rich kingdom's largesse.
But it has called for a negotiated solution, saying it does not want to take part in any conflict that would worsen sectarian divisions in the Muslim world.
April 8, 2015
April 7, 2015
Less than 200 miles from Garissa, Kenya's elite police commandos prepared to head out as soon as they got word of the university attack. So why did it take them 15 hours to arrive?
Je suis Elizabeth...
And the 140 other innocents murdered last week by four al-Shabaab gunmen at Garissa University College in Kenya during the 15 hours before police commandos finally reached the scene.
Fifteen minutes after the American-trained commandos moved in, the terrorists were dead and the attack was over.
That's right-15 hours to get there and 15 minutes to end it.
Some of the names and faces of the students who had been murdered in the meantime can be seen on Twitter via the hashtag #147notjustanumber. They include 21-year-old linguistics major Elizabeth Musinai.
The gunmen used Musinai's cellphone to call her family when she was still alive four hours after the attack began. The gunmen reportedly gave the family two minutes to contact President Uhuru Kenyatta and get him to promise to withdraw the Kenyan army from Somalia.
"Listen to how we are killing your daughter," a gunman reportedly told the family after the wildly impossible deadline lapsed.
The family heard three gunshots. Her body was among those later identified at the morgue. The family began making burial preparations as many people began asking why help had been so long in coming.
The attack had begun at 5:30 a.m., and word reached the commandos a half-hour later at their base in Ruiru just outside Nairobi, some 175 miles from Garissa.
The commandos, formally known as the Recce Squad of the General Services Unit, immediately began preparing to head out, just as they had in 2013 when they got word of an attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
In that earlier attack, they had been held on standby for an hour before they were dispatched. They had entered the mall only to be fired upon by the Kenyan military.
The commandos had withdrawn with one dead and several wounded by friendly fire. They had watched the military finish the job with too much force that had too little effect over much too long a time. The gunmen in the meantime killed more than 60 innocents.
After the Westgate attack, President Kenyatta did make known his appreciation for the commandos. He visited them in Ruiru for a feast that included the sacrifice of a bull.
To be thus honored did not spare the commandos from being left to live without electricity for three months in 2014, when power at their base was cut. Some officers believed it was an effort to keep them from charging-and therefore from using-their cellphones.
"We think it's an intentional act since most of us engage much on social media," one officer was quoted telling a Kenyan newspaper. "Social media has taken center stage, which seems to bother the bosses. It is our right to know what is trending."
But by various accounts, the commandos did not let such pettiness keep them from immediately making ready when they got word of the attack on the university in Garissa early on the morning of April 2.
Yet however raring to go they may have been, they are said to have been kept on standby until nearly midday.
When they finally did get the green light, they encountered heavy traffic that delayed them for at least an hour on the way to Wilson Airport outside Nairobi.
And the two available planes could only carry 18 of the 24 members of the team.
A third plane that could have carried the others had already departed with Inspector-General of Police Wilson Boinnet and Interior Ministry Secretary Joseph Nkaissery. The two officials had flown to Garissa to announce that the situation was well in hand.
"Garissa University was attacked early morning. Elite units from Police & KDF have responded." Boinnet tweeted. "Updates to follow."
The remaining commandos and their equipment had to drive five hours to the scene of the attack.
By the time they arrived and everybody was briefed, the attack had been going on for 15 hours.
The Kenyan military had chosen to limit itself this time to forming a perimeter around the building where the gunmen were holed up, firing on the soldiers from an upper floor.
The commandos had no sooner arrived than they charged through a back door and headed up the stairs.
In as little as 12 minutes, the four gunmen had been killed. The 147 dead students were beyond rescuing.
"The #GarissaSiege is over," Boinnet now tweeted. "Our joint security forces responded commendably. I regret the loss of so many young lives."
The dead terrorists included Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, a twentysomething fledgling lawyer who had been considered uncommonly bright. His father was both a chief and a prominent government official.
Abdullahi is said to have been working as a legal officer at a bank in 2013 when his family reported him missing. The family reportedly told the police that they suspected he had slipped away to join al-Shabaab.
"If it is true he is one among the killed terrorists, we wish worse should have happened to him," a family member was quoted saying after it was reported that he had taken part in the university attack. "We pray he pays for his callous sins in the afterlife."
Amid questions about the delay, Kenyan authorities announced that they were assigning two helicopters to the commandos that had previously been used by the country's Wildlife Service and Forest Service. They will now be able to chopper to the scene after however long they are kept on standby.
Electricity has been restored at the base in Ruiru for several months now. And the commandos can check #147notjustanumber on Twitter and see the names and faces of the students they might have been able to save if they had been immediately dispatched. Elizabeth Musinai was still alive more than six hours after the attack began, at least 3 1/2 hours after the commandos could have been there.
Foremost on the minds of the commandos must be the comrade who was killed when they were finally able to storm the building. Corporal Bernard Tonui had reportedly received counterterrorism training in the United States. He had called his wife when the commandos were finally dispatched to Garissa. He is said to have told her he would call again after the operation was concluded.
"He was a loving husband and father who always kept in touch to know how we are faring at home," his wife, Nelly, later told a Kenyan newspaper.
His grieving parents reported that one of his bothers, Police Officer Joseph Bett, had also been killed by al-Shabaab, also in Garissa, in 2012.
"The death of my son has shocked us to the core as we are yet to come to terms with the death of my other son," the father, Simon Sanga, told a Kenyan reporter.
Je suis aussi Bernard...
Depraved militants fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq have brutally beheaded four men accused of theft, before displaying their bodies on railings in a town square.
Taken in ISIS' northern stronghold of Mosul, the photographs show four men being interviewed by the terrorists before they are dragged before bloodthirsty crowds eager to see their executions.
The savage punishment is a significantly more extreme than ISIS' usual punishment for theft - which typically sees the accused having their right hand hacked-off by machete-wielding jihadis who pump the men full of drugs to numb the limb before severing it from the victim's body.
The first photograph shows the four men sitting on a sofa in what appears to an interview-type situation with their jihadi captors.
All of the men wear their beards without moustaches in a style commonly associated with Islamist beliefs and their military-style clothing suggests the victims may well have been fighters themselves.
If the men were ISIS members, that could be one explanation for why they were given considerably harsher punishments than those usually received by ordinary citizens accused of similar crimes.
A second photograph shows one of the men blindfolded and forced to his knees in a town square while a masked militant reads out the charges against him.
Huge crowds are seen in the streets, with bloodthirsty young fathers and their children jostling for position in order to get a better view of the savage scene.
A final photograph shows all four men on their knees as the knife-wielding militants swarm upon them, before carrying out the brutal beheadings. Locals on the ground suggested the men's decapitated bodies were later put on public display in central Mosul.
Islamist Boko Haram militants disguised as preachers killed at least 24 people and wounded several others in an attack near a mosque in northeast Nigeria's Borno state, a military source and witness said on Monday.
The attackers arrived in cars late on Sunday and gathered people at a mosque in the remote village of Kwajafa, pretending to preach Islam. They then opened fire on them, witness Simeon Buba said.
The group's six-year insurgency, and President Goodluck Jonathan's failure to end it or protect civilians, were factors in the victory of opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari in last week's election.
The group fighting for an Islamic state has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds, although a military operation against them by Nigeria and neighbors Chad, Cameroon and Niger in the past two months has wrested back much of the territory it controlled.
"People didn't know the Boko Haram men came for attack because they lied to our people that they came for preaching," said Buba in a telephone conversation.
"They opened fire on them and killed many people," he said, adding that houses were set on fire.
Some people were being treated for gunshot wounds and burns at a hospital in the Borno state town of Biu on Monday, a source there said.
April 6, 2015
Why Are These Christians Dying? Article
ISIS insurgents blew up a church on Easter Sunday, according to Syrian state news agency SANA.
The militants reportedly planted explosives inside the 80-year-old Church of the Virgin Mary in Tel Nasri in Syria's northeastern province of Hassakain.
Christian and Kurdish militia fighters have been battling the ISIS insurgency in the area but hardline Islamists control the village, SANA said. No casualties were reported.
The militant group, which has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq, espouses a fiercely purist school of Sunni Islam, deeming many other Muslims to be heretics. Its fighters have also destroyed Shiite and Sufi religious sites. Most recently, video released last Friday appeared to show ISIS destroying an archaeological site at the ancient Iraqi city of Hatra.
At a UN seminar addressing reconstruction in Gaza, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded that Israel demonstrate its commitment to peace and security and two states - presumably including a Jewish state - but placed no such demands on Hamas. In his opening remarks at the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, the Secretary General stated: "I ... expect that the new Government of Israel will extend its full cooperation to the efforts of the international community and reaffirm its commitment to the vision of two-states living side-by-side in peace and security."
The Secretary General also ignored Israel's security concerns regarding Hamas' use of building materials to rebuild terror tunnels and called for full openings of Gaza crossings. He stated: "I repeat my call on all sides to take immediate steps to...ensure a full opening of the crossings into Gaza, including Rafah, to allow for legitimate trade and movement of people."
Indeed, rather than denounce the terrorist organization Hamas, the Secretary General urged that Palestinian groups to reconcile with it. "I urge the Palestinians to overcome their divisions..."