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Resources updated between Monday, April 16, 2018 and Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 22, 2018

People gather outside a voter registration center which was attacked by a suicide bomber in Kabu

At least 57 people were killed when a suicide bomber struck a voter registration center in Afghanistan's capital in an attack claimed by the Islamic State terror group. 

Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro told the Associated Press that 119 people were wounded in the massive blast in Kabul, which shattered windows miles away from the attack site.

Majro told TOLO News the wounded have been taken to a number of Kabul hospitals, and that officials are orking to identify the victims. 

Majro said there were five small children and 21 women among the dead. More than a dozen children and nearly 50 women were wounded, he said, adding that the tolls could still rise.

Police blocked all roads to the blast site, with only ambulances allowed in. 

Local TV stations broadcast live footage of hundreds of distraught people gathered at nearby hospitals seeking word about loved ones.

Gen. Daud Amin, the Kabul police chief, told the AP the suicide bomber targeted civilians who had gathered to receive national identification cards. Afghanistan will hold parliamentary elections in October.

ISIS claimed responsibility in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it had targeted Shiite "apostates."

The bombing on Sunday was the fourth attack on the election process since voter registration started last Saturday, according to TOLO News.

Last week, three police officers responsible for guarding voter registration centers in two Afghan provinces were killed by militants, according to authorities.

Afghan security forces have struggled to prevent attacks by ISIS as well as the more firmly established Taliban since the U.S. and NATO concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014.

Both groups regularly launch attacks, with the Taliban usually targeting the government and security forces, and IS targeting the country's Shiite minority.

Both groups want to establish a harsh form of Islamic rule in Afghanistan, and are opposed to democratic elections.

ISIS suicide bombing at Afghanistan voter registration center kills 57 Document

April 20, 2018

A kite marked with a swastika, flown across the Gaza border into Israel carrying a petrol bomb

Palestinians at the Gaza border flew a kite marked with a swastika and carrying a petrol bomb into Israel on Friday.

The Israeli army posted photographs of the kite in the air and on the ground inside Israel.

An IDF spokesman, Jonathan Conricus, wrote: "Moments ago, terrorist Hamas sent a Molotov cocktail over the Gaza border into Israel. They flew it with their true colors."

Friday marked the fourth weekend in succession that thousands of Palestinians have demonstrated at the border, in mass protests encouraged by the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers. Originally declared as non-violent "March of Return" protests, the demonstrations are being encouraged by Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, and whose leaders say the goal of the protests is to erase the border and liberate Palestine.

The Israeli army says it has faced "terror" at the fence during the weekly protests, including a shooting incident, numerous efforts to breach the fence, stone- and bomb-throwing. In recent days, Gazans have flown kites carrying petrol bombs across the border, and these have caused fires several times in Israeli fields close to the border.

On Tuesday, one such kite started a fire in a grassy grove outside Kibbutz Be'eri, an Israeli community located some seven kilometers (4.3 miles) east of Gaza's Bureij refugee camp. It took four teams of firefighters to bring the blaze under control, a spokesman for the local fire department said. The Kan news broadcaster reported that the fire had spread over almost 100 dunams (25 acres).

The kites seem to be the latest phase in the ongoing clashes on the Gaza border, as Palestinians have rioted and protested along the security fence almost daily since March 30.

Fridays have been by far the most active days, with over 40,000 people taking part in the first protest, nearly 30,000 taking part in the second and approximately 10,000 participating in the third and most recent, according to the IDF's figures. As of late afternoon, Friday's fourth protests involved some 3,000 people.

These violent demonstrations have often included the burning of tires and Israeli flags.

Palestinian flags combined with swastika flags have also been sight.

As this month also marks the beginning of Israel's dry season, an IDF spokesperson on Friday said the military was prepared for the possibility that fires might break out and had therefore coordinated with local fire departments and put firefighting planes on standby.

However, when asked earlier this week specifically about the low-tech threat posed by kites carrying incendiary devices, the army offered scant details about its ability to combat the threat. "The IDF is prepared and ready for various scenarios during the riots organized along the Gaza fence," the army said in a statement.

On Monday, the local Eshkol regional council issued a stark warning to residents, telling them to be on alert for these airborne arson attacks.

"In the last 24 hours, there have been several cases of kites flying with Molotov cocktails from the Strip to our territory," the council said in a statement. "The public is asked to be alert and to report on any unusual incident of fires in the area."

Last month, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) organized a "Kites of Hope" festival for over 1,000 Gazan schoolchildren from Khan Younis.

The National Forum for the March of Return, one of several Palestinian groups behind the weekly demonstrations, moved its protest tents closer to the border ahead of Friday's protests, in order, it said, to "affirm our right to return" - a reference to the Palestinian demand that Israel allow tens of thousands of refugees and their millions of descendants to return to their former homes inside Israel. Such a demand would mean the end of Israel as a majority Jewish state.

The protests in Gaza are expected to continue until mid-May, around the time the US is set to inaugurate its new embassy in Jerusalem.

Mid-May will also mark the anniversary of what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe, which saw hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flee their homes during Israel's 1948 War of Independence.

According to the United Nations, some 1.3 million of Gaza's 1.9 million residents are refugees or their descendants.

At previous peace talks, the Palestinians have always demanded, along with sovereignty in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Old City, a "right of return" to Israel for Palestinian refugees who left or were forced out of Israel when it was established. The Palestinians demand this right not only for those of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are still alive - a figure estimated in the low tens of thousands - but also for their descendants, who number in the millions.

No Israeli government would ever be likely to accept this demand, since it would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority state. Israel's position is that Palestinian refugees and their descendants would become citizens of a Palestinian state at the culmination of the peace process, just as Jews who fled or were forced out of Middle Eastern countries by hostile governments became citizens of Israel.

Palestinians fly swastika kite with petrol bomb across Gaza border into Israel Document

Iranian woman is viciously beaten because of her red head scarf

A video from Iran showing a woman being violently attacked for her "insufficient" head covering by what activists say are the country's so-called morality police went viral on Thursday.

In the video, the woman shrieks and weeps as she is manhandled and thrown to the ground by women whose black robes expose only their faces. A crowd gathers around as the attack continues, and at one point a woman who does not appear to be part of the religious police is seen attempting to comfort the victim.

The video was shared on Twitter by Masih Alinejad, who hosts the website and Facebook group My Stealthy Freedom, where women post photos of themselves without hijabs in Iran.

"This woman is savagely beaten up by morality police as punishment for her insufficient hijab. And they tell us hijab is a 'small issue,'" Alinejad wrote in her tweet. Some Twitter users wrote that Iranian officials are looking into the violent incident and have ordered an investigation.

Under Iran's Islamic law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair with a scarf, known as a hijab, and wear long, loose-fitting clothes. Violators are publicly admonished, fined or arrested.

To campaign against the obligatory wearing of headscarves, Alinejad last year encouraged women to take videos or photos of themselves wearing white and upload them on social media with the hashtag #whitewednesdays. Last February, 29 women who took part in the campaign were arrested.

The #whitewednesdays campaign is part of a larger online movement started three years ago by Alinejad, a journalist who has lived in self-imposed exile since 2009. She has received death threats since her campaigning started.

Video Shows Iran's Morality Police Beating Woman for 'Insufficient' Head Covering Document

April 18, 2018

Illustrative: Border Police officers guard a checkpoint in the West Bank

Independence Day terror attack foiled as IDF troops find hidden bomb in truck belonging to Palestinian Document

Smoke and flames near an Israeli kibbutz on the border of the Gaza Strip after Palestinians flew a kite laden with a Molotov cocktail, April 17, 2018

Latest threat from Gaza: Fire-starting kites Document

April 17, 2018

The U.N. Economic and Social Council (File photo)

A Good Day For Autocrats as U.N. Body Hands Out Leadership Posts Article

April 16, 2018

Ghaderi began his march on March 21, 2017, in Stockholm, carrying Iran’s pre-Islamic Revolution “Lion and Sun” flag

An Iranian resident of Sweden, Kamran Ghaderi, who started his march for Iran's Freedom about a year ago in Stockholm has been detained after entering his homeland, an unidentified relative told the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Ghaderi began his march on March 21, 2017, in Stockholm, carrying Iran's pre-Islamic Revolution "Lion and Sun" flag. "I am walking to Iran for freedom and carrying the Lion and Sun flag that I intend to install on Cyrus the Great's mausoleum in Pasargadae, south of Iran," Ghaderi, 48, wrote on Twitter at the time.

Citing the relative, CHRI reported on April 10, "In February 2018, after crossing 11 countries, [Ghaderi] was arrested in Iran at the Urmia border near Turkey and charged with propaganda against the state, assembly and collusion against national security, and insulting the supreme leader and officials of the Islamic Republic."

"When he crossed into Iranian soil he was detained by border guards for carrying the Lion and Sun flag and released a few days later," said the source, who spoke to CHRI on the condition of anonymity. "But it seems the Intelligence Ministry caught wind and arrested him on March 7 and sent him to prison in Tabriz [capital of East Azerbaijan Province]."

The relative also maintained, "Kamran told us on the phone that there's a possibility he could be transferred to Tehran, but for now he's in Tabriz."

After the fall of the monarchy in Iran and establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, the Lion and Sun flag was replaced with a banner representing dagger-like images of crescent moons, purportedly an image that the Prophet Mohammad drew on the sands of Arabia, with the word "Allah" written in the middle.

"Today, the old flag has become a symbol for some Iranian opposition groups in exile, particularly monarchists seeking the return of the Pahlavi Dynasty (1925-1979)," CHRI reported.

Ghaderi emigrated to Sweden at the age of 15. His wife and two children have Swedish citizenship, but he has never applied for it himself. During his march, Ghaderi posted regularly on Twitter and gave interviews to Persian-language media based outside Iran, including Radio Farda.

CHRI's source says that these interviews have become the basis of an indictment against Ghaderi, who has reportedly been on a hunger strike since March 12.

While on his 8,000-kilometer (roughly 5,000-mile) march, Ghaderi told Radio Farda in October 2017, "My destination is Cyrus' mausoleum, and my demand is holding free elections in Iran."

Responding to Radio Farda's question about the risk of carrying the pre-revolution flag into Iran, Ghaderi said, "If that happens, I will think about it."

Iranian Activist Marches for Iran's Freedom from Sweden and is Detained Upon Entering his Homeland Document

Anti-regime protestors demonstrating outside the Iranian embassy in London, England (File photo)

U.N. Re-elects Iran to the U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Development

An UNRWA classroom (File photo)

UNRWA hides map erasing Israel during EU representative visit Article

The Hamas tunnel exposed and destroyed by the IDF

Offensive Hamas terror tunnel into Israel exposed, neutralized Document