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Historical Grand Mosque destroyed in Mosul

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Historical Grand Mosque destroyed in Mosul

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Baghdadi’s “Caliphate” vanished

The landmark grand al-Nuri mosque, where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced establishment of “caliphate” in 2014, was destroyed on Wednesday.

There are conflicting reports about who destroyed the historical mosque.  Iraqi Army and US blamed Daesh (IS) for destruction while terror outfit accused a US-led coalition air raid for the blow.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi denounced the destruction saying, “Blowing up the al Badba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque amounts to an official acknowledgement of defeat.”

Iraqi Army official leading the Mosul offensive Lt Gen Adulamir Yarallah said, “Our forces were advancing toward their targets deep in the old city and when they got to within 50 meters of the al-Nuri mosque, Daesh (IS) committed another historical crime by blowing up the mosque.”

Commander of Iraqi counter terrorism operations Lt Gen Abdul Ghani al-Assadi said on Wedneday, “We are no more going to drive them out of the old city, (instead) we are going to kill all of them (Daesh) in the coming days.”

US Army Major General Joseph Martin said that the mosque destruction showed IS brutality. “The responsibility of this devastation is laid firmly at the doorstep of IS,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iraqi forces had claimed to start a push towards the mosque. The US-led coalition is providing air and ground support to the Mosul offensive which began in October last year. On Tuesday, the armed forces had encircled IS stronghold in the old city.

Iraqi Ambassador to India Fakhri al-Issa told APN earlier this year that his government was trying to save Mosul city’s infrastructure, unlike Syria,  as “reconstruction was much more difficult than destruction”.

Coalition spokesman US Air Force colonel John Dorrian denied IS allegation saying “we did not strike in that area”.

Experts believe that destruction of al-Nuri mosque has virtually marked the end of the (Daesh) IS in Iraq. The fall of Mosul would mark the end of Iraqi half of the “caliphate”, the other half being in Syria where vast areas were still under IS control. For IS, Mosul in Iraq was as important for them as Raqqa in Syria.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had reportedly left Mosul to local commanders and is considered to be hiding in the border areas between Iraq and Syria. Coalition forces and other sources have many a time claimed that Baghdadi was killed in the ongoing offensive against the group.

During occupation of vast areas in Iraq and Syria, IS has rampaged through numerous heritage sites in the two countries. IS follows the Saudi-origin Wahabi school of thought, claiming to be a puritanical strain of Islam, which considers all religious shrines idolatrous.

In July 2014, the IS extremists destroyed another landmark in Mosul, the tomb of Jonah, considered to be a key figure in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The terrorist group was also responsible for destroying iconic Palmyra archeological sites in Syria and Assyrian capital of Khorsabad in Iraq.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

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US reiterates its call for fair, transparent, legal process for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, speaks on Congress frozen accounts

The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections.

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A day after India summoned an US diplomat over their remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor policy case, the US reiterated its call for fair, transparent, timely legal processes on Wednesday.

Responding to questions on India summoning Gloria Berbena, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that they will continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Notably, the meeting at the foreign ministry’s South Block office lasted nearly 40 minutes yesterday with India objecting strongly to the US remarks on the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal.

Matthew Miller also responded to a question on the Congress party’s frozen bank accounts. The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections. He added that the US encourages fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of the issues.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested last week by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to the Delhi liquor policy scam. Earlier, AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Sanjay Singh were arrested in the same case.

The External Affairs Ministry had earlier stated that states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies, adding that it could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents.

The Ministry further emphasized that India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. It mentioned that casting aspersions on India’s legal procedure is unwarranted.

The United State’s remarks followed days after Germany’s Foreign Office stressed that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial. The Indian government labelled their remark as blatant interference in internal matters.

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5 Chinese nationals killed in suicide bomb attack in Pakistan

This is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

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Nearly five Chinese nationals were killed in an explosion during an attack on their convoy by a suicide bomber in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday. Reportedly, the suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers travelling from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu, situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur said that five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed in the attack. As yet, none has claimed responsibility for the attack. Bisham Station House Officer (SHO) Bakht Zahir asserted that the incident was a suicide blast and the authorities concerned were collecting the evidence.

The Station House Officer further added that security arrangements were tightened at the spot and the bodies were being shifted to a hospital. He added that they will investigate from where and how the vehicle of a suicide bomber came and how it happened. Notably, this is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

Previously, two attacks hit an airbase and a strategic port in the southwest province of Balochistan where China is investing billions in infrastructure projects. Several Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have for multiple years been working on hydroelectric projects as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative in the western province of Khyber-Paktunkhwa.

Notably, Dasu is home to a significant dam project, has been a target of previous attacks. Earlier in 2021, the attack in Dasu resulted in the deaths of nine Chinese nationals, along with two Pakistani children. The incident occured when a bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the Dasu Hydropower Project site was targeted.

There was confusion surrounding the nature of the attack initially, with some reports suggesting it was a bus accident. Nonetheless, subsequent investigations revealed that it was indeed a terrorist attack. The bus was hit by a blast, leading it to plunge into a ravine.

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