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Iranian security personnel kidnapped on border with Pakistan

LONDON (Reuters) - At least 10 Iranian security personnel including Revolutionary Guards were kidnapped on the border with Pakistan on Tuesday, Iran’s state media reported, and a separatist group said it had seized them as revenge for the oppression of Sunni Muslims.

The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s top security force, said in a statement carried on state television that some of its members had been abducted by a militant group at a border post in the city of Mirjaveh in Sistan-Baluchestan province.

Iranian officials held talks with the Pakistani ambassador in Tehran and called on Islamabad to “use all possible means” to free them.

The Guards did not say how many were kidnapped, but state news agency IRNA quoted an unnamed official as saying 14 people had been kidnapped around 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.

The Guards said they believed the Iranian forces had been deceived by “insiders”, but did not elaborate. Fars news agency said there were reports Iranian forces had been poisoned by food before being captured and taken to Pakistan.

Ebrahim Azizi, spokesman for Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group, said the group had seized more than 10 people.

“This morning Jaish al-Adl forces attacked a border post in Mirjaveh, and captured all their weapons,” Azizi said in an audio message sent to Reuters.

The group also claimed responsibility on its Twitter account.

Azizi said the attack was retaliation for what he called the Iranian state’s oppression of Sunnis in Sistan-Baluchestan, a mainly Sunni province with a long history of separatist unrest.

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6 killed as US-led coalition F-15 jets bomb Kurdish forces fighting ISIS – report

Two US-led coalition aircraft have bombed Syrian Kurdish forces, disrupting their offensive on Islamic State terrorists, RIA news agency reports. The diplomatic source has called out US’ “lack of coordination and professionalism.”

Two US-led coalition’s F-15 fighter jets have mistakenly targeted Kurdish units amid their offensive on the remaining forces of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in Syria, RIA reported, citing a “military and diplomatic source.” It said six people were killed and 15 injured on the Kurdish side.

The incident, which took place near the town of Hajin in the Syrian eastern Deir ez-Zor province, did not just disrupt the operation but also reportedly led to numerous defections in the ranks of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Even worse, the terrorists managed to seize some territories in the area, the source added.

“These facts demonstrate that the US policy in Syria has failed just as in the neighboring Iraq, as it does not solve any problems but only creates the new one for the whole region,” the source said, accusing Washington of only “imitating” its fight against the terrorists in Syria to justify its continued presence in the war-torn country.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that Islamic State militants had attacked a refugee camp in Deir ez-Zor province and had taken hundreds of people hostage. Some 700 people were abducted and taken to Hajin, located in a 20-kilometer area along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. Now, the military source has told RIA that some citizens of western countries are among the people taken hostage by the extremists.



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‘No choice but war’: Israel ‘exhausted all options’ in dealing with Hamas, says defense chief

Israel is left with no choice but to unleash a military action against Hamas militants, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has threatened. The bellicose tirade comes amid reports the IDF are amassing tanks along the Gaza border.

“Wars are only conducted when there is no choice, and now there is no choice,” Lieberman told the parliament. Apparently anything less than the “toughest response” to Hamas is not being considered as Tel Aviv had “exhausted the other options.”


Speculation about a potential offensive on Gaza has been swirling for several days, as the IDF stationed around 60 tanks and armored personnel carriers near the Palestinian border in what may be the largest military deployment since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

That’s after an exchange of fire last week, in which a rocket from Gaza hit the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, damaging a house, while another fell into the sea near Tel Aviv.
The Israeli Air Force retaliated, killing one Palestinian and injuring several others.

Lieberman pinned the blame for the escalation on Hamas, a Palestinian militant faction that rules Gaza. He claimed that there is no popular uprising in Gaza and that Palestinians taking part in large-scale protests are on Hamas’ pay.

Palestinians say they are protesting of their own free will to counter Israeli oppression. Over 200 Palestinians have been killed, including medics and journalists, and more than 22,000 injured since border protests - the Great March of Return - began in March.

Israel has also intensified demolition of Palestinian villages in the West Bank to make way for the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements.

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Collaboration of Bellingcat Founder and ISIS Twitter Account Exposed in New Report

Western “experts” like Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat and the Atlantic Council frequently promoted the ShamiWitness account despite its frequent promotion of Daesh talking points and brutal deeds.

by Whitney Webb

MINNEAPOLIS  — A new report has exposed the past collaboration of Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat and influential neo-conservatives with the “most influential Twitter account” of the terror group Daesh, also known as the Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS). That collaboration helped promote the account, which posted under the Twitter handle @shamiwitness, as an “expert” on foreign jihadists while also helping to promote the account’s pro-Daesh messaging.

However, instead of being an “expert,” the account was run by an Indian marketing executive living in Bangalore by the name of Mehdi Biswas.  Biswas used the account to help recruit foreign extremists and lead them to Syria — where they participated in the slaughter of religious minorities, among other atrocities.

The explosive report, written and self-published by journalist Mark Ames, extensively details how Western accounts and figures closely associated with influential government-funded think tanks helped to elevate the ShamiWitness account from “a cretinous troll” into a credible “ISIS expert” who was subsequently promoted by Middle East correspondents from The New York Times and other mainstream publications.


At the height of his popularity, the ShamiWitness account – which was voluntarily deleted in 2014 by its owner after a Channel 4 News exposé – had over 17,000 followers and was followed by two-thirds of foreign jihadists with a presence on Twitter. When Twitter would ban an extremist’s account, ShamiWitness was key to promoting the new account created to replace the banned one. ShamiWitness also helped guide foreign extremists to battlefields in Syria and actively recruited individuals to join Daesh through his social media accounts, according to a reportpublished earlier this year by George Washington University.

In addition, the ShamiWitness account promoted sectarian violence committed by Daesh in Syria and elsewhere and regularly shared videos of Daesh execution and beheading videos. The account also mocked female Kurdish fighters who were raped by Daesh after being captured anddefended Daesh after Amnesty International accused the group of torturing children as young as eight, claiming that the group tortured only teenagers ages 14 and up.

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