Tag Archives: War and unrest

Minnesota man faces terror cost for allegedly becoming a member of IS


A Minnesota man who’s accused of becoming a member of the Islamic State group in Syria has been returned to america to face terrorism expenses

Al-Madioum was lately in a jail in northern Syria with alleged IS fighters, based on information studies.

A search warrant affidavit unsealed in 2017 says Al-Madioum, who was 18 when he left for Syria, is a local of Morocco and a naturalized U.S. citizen. He started learning pc science at Normandale Neighborhood Faculty in Bloomington in 2014.

In June 2015, Al-Madioum and his household traveled to Morocco for a two-month trip to go to family. However on July 7, 2015, Al-Madioum skipped dinner saying he wasn’t feeling nicely, and the following day, he was gone. He left the whole lot behind aside from his cellphone and passport, based on the search warrant affidavit.

Al-Madioum’s household instructed the FBI that he referred to as them shortly after they returned to the U.S. and stated he was working in a hospital in Mosul, Iraq, which was then beneath IS management. However a member of the FBI’s joint terrorism job drive wrote within the affidavit that new recruits generally misinform family members about their precise places and actions in order to not trigger misery.

The FBI searched Al-Madioum’s dwelling in 2015 and located handwritten notes that indicated he had been planning to go to Syria, together with how he may route cash via numerous accounts, a rehearsed backstory in case he was stopped and various journey concepts if his plans to go to Istanbul had been thwarted. The notes additionally contained a sketch of a picture that seems on a flag related to IS, with the Arabic phrase for “allegiance” written subsequent to it.

Chatting with CBS Information from the Syrian jail in 2019, Al-Madioum stated he was recruited to IS via a Twitter contact and had watched propaganda movies that confirmed IS members serving to Muslims. He stated he by no means fought for the group however had hopes of turning into a health care provider.

“They gave me a clean examine to purchase no matter I wished,” stated Al-Madioum, who claimed to have misplaced his arm in a U.S. airstrike.

Al-Madioum is amongst a number of Minnesotans suspected of leaving the U.S. to affix the Islamic State group. In whole, roughly three dozen individuals have left Minnesota to affix militant teams in Somalia or Syria. In 2016, 9 Minnesota males had been sentenced on federal expenses of conspiring to affix the Islamic State group.


Observe Amy Forliti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyforliti


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Airlines face scrutiny for continuing to fly in Iran


Despite warnings to avoid flying over Iran and the Persian Gulf, several airlines continued to do so, including a Ukrainian airliner that crashed and killed 176 people

Airlines are coming under increasing scrutiny for continuing to fly in Iran after a missile barrage and warnings by U.S. safety regulators about the dangerous conditions.

American, British and Canadian officials said Thursday it is “highly likely” that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner near Tehran this week, possibly by accident during a time of high political tension in the region.

About two and one-half hours before the Ukraine International Airlines jet with 176 people on board took off, the Federal Aviation Administration issued emergency orders that prohibited American pilots and airlines from flying over Iran, the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Oman.

The notices warned that heightened military activity and political tension in the Middle East raised “an inadvertent risk” to U.S. aircraft “due to the potential for miscalculation or mis-identification.”

Foreign airlines aren’t bound by FAA directives, but they often follow them. In this case, however, several large international carriers including Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Aeroflot continued to fly in and out of Tehran after the missiles were launched, after the FAA warning, and after the Ukrainian jetliner crashed, according to data from Flightradar24, which tracks flights around the world.

“It was awfully peculiar and awfully risky,” said Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. “That’s a theater of war and these guys were acting like there was nothing going on.”

Goelz said airlines should have canceled all flights when Iran fired a barrage of missiles at military bases inside Iraq that house U.S. troops. Those attacks occurred the night before the Ukrainian plane was scheduled to leave Tehran.

Despite the FAA warnings, planes kept flying at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. After the FAA notices, 12 airliners took off or landed without incident early Wednesday, according to data from Flightradar24. Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 was No. 13.

By late Thursday, some major airlines had changed their thinking. A Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Tehran turned back over Romania and headed back toward Germany. Austrian Airlines said on Twitter that “due to the latest reports and the changed assessment of the security situation for the airspace around Tehran airport,” it canceled a flight Thursday and another Friday. Turkish Airlines temporarily halted flights to Iran and Iraq.

Some safety experts defended the airlines and said that if turns out the Ukrainian plane was shot down, even by accident, the blame rests entirely with Iran. Under international agreements, countries are obligated to monitor their own airspace and tell operators about changes in safety conditions. The governments are expected to know more than airlines, especially those from other countries, as was the case in the loss of the Ukraine International Airlines plane.

“I don’t think you can fault the airline,” said John Cox, a former airline pilot and now a safety consultant. “Iran could have shut their airspace down if they believed there was a threat.”

Airliners rarely get hit by missiles, although the threat has existed for many years. Aviation-security experts worry about portable, shoulder-carried weapons that could be used against planes as they take off or land — when they are closest to the ground.

It takes more sophisticated weapons to threaten jets at cruising altitude. That, however, is exactly what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which was brought down by a Russian-made Buk missile in July 2014 as it flew about 33,000 feet over Ukraine, on the way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board died.

In that incident and the 1988 downing of an Iranian airliner by a missile fired from the U.S. Navy cruiser USS Vincennes – killing all 290 people on the plane – it appeared that the combatants fired their weapons before they were certain whether the target was a military plane or a civilian one, Cox said.

This week’s crash in Iran “is a needless tragedy, but it doesn’t change my view of the safety of aviation,” Cox said.

Goelz said, however, that airlines need to be more stringent in tracking combat zones and avoiding them.

In 2014, aviation authorities issued warnings about Ukrainian airspace, telling airlines to fly above a certain altitude because of the fighting involving pro-Russia rebels armed with Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, who had already shot down government military planes.

Some airlines opted to fly around Ukraine completely, even though that meant longer flights and more fuel burn. Malaysia Airlines opted to keep flying over Ukraine, just at a higher altitude. The result was catastrophic.

“If you told passengers, ‘It’s going to take a couple more hours to get where you want to go, or we can get you there quicker but you might get shot down,’ I think they would say, ‘We’ll take the extra hours,’” Goelz said.


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India to permit vacationers again into locked-down Kashmir


Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir will enable vacationers again into the area two months after ordering them to depart due to safety considerations amid an Indian crackdown, an official stated Tuesday.

However vacationers are unlikely to expertise regular life within the disputed space or have the ability to use cellular web or cellphones, which stay reduce.

Native authorities spokesman Rohit Kansal stated the choice was made after a evaluation of the scenario. Safety restrictions “have now been withdrawn nearly solely from all components of Jammu and Kashmir,” he stated.

He stated the restrictions on the entry of vacationers might be lifted on Thursday.

The federal government instructed vacationers and Hindu pilgrims to depart on Aug. 2, three days earlier than India stripped the Muslim-majority area of its statehood and decades-old semi-autonomy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led authorities additionally despatched tens of hundreds of further troops to the area, already some of the militarized on the earth. It imposed a harsh safety clampdown, chopping nearly all communications.

Indian troops arrested hundreds of anti-India in addition to pro-India activists, together with some Kashmiri leaders who’ve traditionally accepted Indian rule over the area, within the days main as much as and after the revoking of its particular standing.

The strikes touched off widespread anger, as one of many revisions permits anybody to purchase land within the territory, which some Kashmiris worry will end in an inflow of Hindus who would change the area’s tradition and demographics.

Authorities have since eased some restrictions and inspired college students to return to high school and companies to reopen, however Kashmiris have largely stayed indoors to point out their defiance of Indian rule.

They’ve launched a marketing campaign of refusal to renew their regular lives, confounding India at the price of financial losses for themselves. Outlets have adopted new, restricted hours of operation within the early morning and night.

Some vacationer operators expressed shock over the federal government’s determination.

“When every part is shut, what sort of vacationer will take a threat to come back right here with out primary facilities like telephones and public transport?” stated Bashir Ahmed, a vacationer operator whose enterprise has been shut since August.

India “has all the time tried to make use of tourism as an indication of normality,” stated Nazir Ahmed, a Kashmiri schoolteacher.

Kashmir’s pristine mountainous panorama, ski resorts, lake houseboats and apple orchards have lengthy made it a vacationer attraction. Nevertheless, a full-blown armed rise up has raged within the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir since 1989 searching for a united Kashmir — both underneath Pakistani rule or impartial of each nations.

About 70,000 folks have been killed within the rebellion and an Indian navy crackdown. India accuses Pakistan of coaching and arming the rebels, a cost Islamabad denies.

Simmering tensions over Kashmir have additionally threatened to erupt into open battle between India and Pakistan after New Delhi imposed the heavy restrictions within the space it controls. Kashmir is split between the 2 nuclear-armed rivals, which each declare it in its entirety. They’ve fought two wars over its management.


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At 9/11 memorial, new recognition for a longer-term toll


The Sept. 11 memorial at ground zero has been evolving as the 18th anniversary of the attacks approaches.

This year, when nearly 3,000 victims’ names are read aloud there Wednesday, a half-dozen stacks of stone will quietly salute an untold number of people who aren’t on that list.

The granite slabs were installed on the memorial plaza this spring . They recognize an initially unseen toll of the 2001 terror attacks: firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after exposure to toxins unleashed in the wreckage.

Caryn Pfeifer’s husband, firefighter Ray Pfeifer, died in 2017 of cancer. It developed after he spent months searching the rubble for remains.

She says the new 9/11 Memorial Glade gives families like hers a place to “think about everybody.”


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Notre Dame: Environmental teams warn towards lead air pollution


Environmental teams and certainly one of France’s largest labor unions known as Monday for stronger measures to make sure cleanup work at fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral doesn’t expose employees and close by residents to unsafe ranges of lead.

The Paris regional administration suspended the job of cleansing up the famed Paris cathedral final month beneath stress from labor inspectors involved about well being dangers from the tons of lead that burned within the April hearth.

The administration deliberate to renew the work this week with stricter decontamination procedures and gear “to forestall any launch of polluting components to the skin.”

However representatives from environmental teams and the CGT union stated they do not suppose the security measures go far sufficient. They requested for a frequently up to date chart displaying the extent of lead within the air.

Labor and environmental teams are additionally pushing for the creation of a medical heart to watch the well being standing of firefighters, employees and residents.

Lots of of tons of lead that was in Notre Dame’s spire and roof melted in the course of the hearth, which got here near destroying the cathedral.

Lead ranges stay elevated at some spots inside Notre Dame and within the soil of the adjoining park and forecourt, in line with the Paris regional well being company. These areas have been closed to the general public since April 15

Throughout a information convention Monday, the environmental activists and union officers known as for a containment defend to be constructed over Notre Dame to maintain extra lead from being launched into the air.

“For the effectivity of the decontamination measures inside the space, it’s completely crucial that the location is confined”, Annie Thebaud-Mony, co-founder of well being and atmosphere group Henri Pezerat, stated.

Notre Dame rector Patrick Chauvet acknowledged that lead can escape into the environment from the large gap within the cathedral’s roof however dominated out constructing a containment defend earlier than the cleanup work resumes.

Anne Souyris, the deputy Paris mayor answerable for well being points, stated up to date lead degree info is about for launch on Tuesday.

Paris authorities ordered new checks of colleges and day care facilities within the Notre Dame neighborhood and really helpful blood checks for kids beneath age 7 and pregnant ladies who dwell close by.

Youngsters are particularly weak to well being issues from lead poisoning and publicity.


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London climate-change protesters to disrupt Heathrow Airport


Environmental protesters who have blocked London roads and bridges for more than three days said Thursday they plan to take their civil disobedience campaign to Heathrow, Europes busiest airport, at the start of the Easter holiday weekend.

The Extinction Rebellion group said it would mount a protest at the airport on Friday. The group vowed to escalate its campaign of disruption if the British government doesnt step up action against climate change.

Heathrow said it was working with the authorities to address any threat of protests which could disrupt the airport.

Hundreds of demonstrators have blocked central London sites including Waterloo Bridge over the River Thames and the Oxford Circus and Marble Arch intersections since Monday.

The protest sites have sprouted tents, sound systems and even an ice cream van. Traffic is snarled and bus routes have been disrupted, to the frustration of commuters.

Police have made more than 420 arrests.

Extinction rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook said more people are joining us all the time.

Its certainly an option that tactics will be escalated if our demands are not met, she said.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Britains interior minister, condemned the demonstrations, saying protesters do not have the right to break the law and significantly disrupt the lives of others.

I expect the police to take a firm stance and use the full force of the law, Javid said.


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Attackers kill doctor at hospital in Congo’s Ebola epicenter


Attackers stormed a hospital at the epicenter of Congos Ebola outbreak and killed a dear colleague, the head of the World Health Organization said Friday as he condemned the latest violence against health workers trying to contain the virus.

We are outraged, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said after the attack Friday in Butembo, a city in eastern Congo.

The worlds response to the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has been hampered by a series of deadly attacks on health centers in Butembo and elsewhere that have disrupted medical care and vaccination efforts, leading to a rise in new Ebola cases in the sprawling African nation.

The health worker killed was Dr. Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, an epidemiologist, a WHO statement said. A Congo health ministry staffer and a driver were injured, a separate statement by the U.N. secretary-generals special representative in Congo said.

Butembos deputy mayor, Patrick Kambale Tsiko, said Kiboung was from from Cameroon and blamed a militia group for the attack. He said the militiamen erroneously believed that foreigners had brought the disease with them to Congo.

According to witnesses at the scene, these militiamen wanted all the expatriates to go home because according to them, Ebola does not exist in Butembo, Tsiko said. They said they will continue if these expatriates do not return as soon as possible.

Police were pursuing the attackers, Tsiko said.

Congos health ministry confirmed the assault on the Catholic University of Graben hospital. One aid group, the International Rescue Committee, said the hospital held only non-Ebola patients and many of them fled during the attack.

Dozens of rebel groups are active in eastern Congo. There also has been some community resistance to Ebola containment efforts in a traumatized, wary region that had never faced an outbreak of the virus before.

Ebola can spread quickly and can be fatal in up to 90 of cases. The hemorrhagic fever is most often spread by close contact with the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms or with objects such as sheets that have been contaminated.

Health Minister Dr. Oly Ilunga said in a tweet that local and international health workers are courageously combating the virus, sometimes at the cost of their lives.

The attack came three days after President Felix Tshisekedi visited the Ebola outbreak zone, pledging more military and police protection for health workers and asking residents for their cooperation. The president hoped to see the outbreak contained in less than three months, although some health experts estimate it could take much longer.

Robert Kitchen, senior vice president for emergencies with the International Rescue Committee, predicted it could take at least another year to contain the Ebola outbreak without a significant change in community engagement and understanding. He said such attacks on health workers are increasingly common.

This month could see the highest rate of Ebola transmission yet, Kitchen said, adding the trajectory of this outbreak is alarming.

Since the Ebola outbreak in Congo was declared in August, there have been more than 1,300 confirmed and probable cases, including 843 deaths, the health ministry said Thursday.

More than 102,000 people have received an experimental but effective Ebola vaccine.

Anna reported from Johannesburg.

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New attack on Ebola center in Congo; 1 militia member killed


Militia members attacked an Ebola treatment center hours after another attack killed a staffer with the World Health Organization, a Congolese official said Saturday.

Butembo citys deputy mayor, Patrick Kambale Tsiko, told The Associated Press that the attackers armed with machetes tried to burn down the center in Katwa district overnight. Military and police guarding the center killed one militia member and detained five others, he said.

Such violence has deeply complicated efforts to contain what has become the second-deadliest Ebola virus outbreak in history, with the number of new cases jumping each time treatment and prevention work is disrupted.

on a hospital in Butembo killed an epidemiologist from Cameroon who had been deployed to the outbreak in eastern Congo. Tsiko cited witnesses as saying the attackers wrongly blamed foreigners for bringing the deadly virus to the region.

This outbreak now has more than 1,300 confirmed and probable cases, including 855 deaths, since being declared last August. The number of new cases has risen alarmingly in recent weeks after other attacks, leading the WHO to convene an expert committee that decided the outbreak, while of deep concern, is .

Attacks by rebel groups and community resistance have posed serious challenges to containing Ebola, which can spread quickly and can be fatal in up to 90 of cases. Congos North Kivu region had never faced an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever before, and health workers have battled misinformation and rumors. Some residents .

In the hospital attack on Friday, gunmen burst into a conference room and forced people onto the floor, taking their belongings and accusing them of perpetuating false rumors about Ebola, according to a statement by IMA World Health, a Washington-based aid group that supports the hospital. The gunmen then shot the Cameroonian doctor in the abdomen and left, firing into the air and sending staff and patients fleeing.

Fridays attack was at least the fourth on an IMA World Health-supported facility involved in Ebola response efforts, the statement said. Four days earlier, attackers looted a nearby clinic and briefly kidnapped a nurse. The clinic remains closed.

While the new attack on the treatment center in Katwa is the first by militia members, it has been attacked a number of times by anxious families who sought to claim the bodies of loved ones who died of the disease.

Ebola is spread by the bodily fluids of those infected and showing symptoms, including the dead, and some residents have bristled at safe burial practices that contradict their traditional, hands-on ones.

Others try to avoid treatment if they fall ill.

The fear of being forcibly hospitalized adds to the poor public image of Ebola treatment centers, Natalie Roberts, head of emergencies for the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, earlier this month. These structures are associated with a life-threatening illness, isolation and the use of protective equipment which makes the staff unrecognizable and intimidating.

How to take community concerns into account while effectively containing Ebola remains the subject of debate, while worries are high that the outbreak could spread from the densely populated region to the major crossroads city of Goma or into nearby Uganda or Rwanda.

The latest attacks come a few days after Congo President Felix Tshisekedi visited the Ebola outbreak zone, pledging more military and police protection for health workers and asking residents for their cooperation. The president hoped to see the outbreak contained in less than three months, although some health experts estimate it could take much longer if community resistance continues.

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