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Iran: Director’s Passport Confiscated Despite Hints Of Tolerance In New Regime

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Deadline.com

By: NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor | Wednesday, 2 October 2013 23:25 UK

What a difference a little bit of time and a new regime make… or do they? Earlier this year, Iran was mulling litigation over how it was portrayed in Ben Affleck’s Academy Award winnerArgo, and it boycotted the 2012 Oscars in protest over the Innocence Of Muslims video that was made in the U.S. Now that a new government led by perceived political moderate Hassan Rouhani is in place the Argo lawsuit has lost steam and Iran has entered Asghar Farhadi’s The Past as its Oscar candidate for 2013.

Those and other recent moves had led some to wonder if a new era of tolerance for freedom of expression was afoot. But, in just the past day, it’s emerged thatManuscripts Don’t Burn director Mohammad Rasoulof had his passport confiscated on a recent return home to Iran, and is still blocked from leaving the country.

Does that mean that despite the possible thaw of relations between Iran and the rest of the free world, tolerance for freedom of expression at home hasn’t really budged? Folks I’ve spoken with agree that Iran’s reopening of the House of Cinema film guild in September, after a 20-month closure, gave rise to hope that banned filmmakers like Jafar Panahi might see their sentences eased. At the time, Deputy Culture Minister Hojatollah Ayoubi said, “When a cultural issue — like the one about the House of Cinema — becomes a political one, that is (because) the situation was not managed properly.” That makes this latest turn with Rasoulof even more “paradoxical” as one person put it to me today.

The submission of Farhadi’s The Past to the Oscar race even seemed to push against typical conservative mores. The choice wasn’t entirely unexpected — Farhadi’s A Separation won the Foreign Language prize in 2011 — but the movie was made in France with French coin and deals with moral issues and intimate relationships that might have once run afoul of state authorities. Instead, it reportedly rubbed some conservatives the wrong way, but only because they felt it wasn’t Iranian enough.

Even controversial attorney Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who in March told me she was investigating a possible lawsuit over Argo at the request of Iranian authorities, now tells me that given the new government’s “desire to reestablish relations with the U.S.,” it’s dubious “if they will want to continue with this… It’s a bit late now.” Although she was not familiar with the circumstances surrounding Rasoulof’s situation, she insisted, “Iran doesn’t have to answer to anyone” on issues of human rights.

Why is Rasoulof landlocked now? People close to the situation are refraining from commenting for fear of complicating matters. But it’s suspected that the subject of Manuscripts Don’t Burn, Rasoulof’s latest film which won a FIPRESCI prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard last May, could be a factor. It was described by the Toronto Film Festival as “an incendiary critique of the Iranian regime” that “tackles head-on the violent machinations of censorship in Iran.”

In 2010, Rasoulof was arrested for “propaganda against the regime” and received a six-year prison sentence, ultimately reduced to one, and a 20-year ban on filmmaking. The prison sentence has not been enforced and he has continued to travel, recently accompanying Manuscripts to Telluride and Toronto. He was expected at the Hamburg Film Festival last night and is due to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival on October 8th. In a statement, Nuremberg fest director Andrea Kuhn said, “We find it absolutely inacceptable that the Iranian authorities refuse to let him leave the country. He is being held against his will and he is being hindered to exercise his job as a director and filmmaker… This is a severe violation of freedom of expression and basic human rights.”

Rasoulof’s 2010 arrest came at the same time asThe White Balloon helmer Panahi, who remains under a 20-year filmmaking ban and is not allowed to travel. As Rasoulof did with Manuscripts, Panahi continues to make films covertly. His last, Closed Curtain, won a Best Script Silver Bear in Berlin. But when his co-director, Kambozia Partovi, returned to Iran in February after accepting the prize on Panahi’s behalf, he too had his passport confiscated. Panahi’s previous movie, 2011′s This Is Not A Film, was smuggled into the Cannes Film Festival on a flash drive hidden inside a cake.

Panahi, Rasoulof and others have had support from film festivals and film academies around the world. Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux told me today, “Iranian cinema is one of the greatest in the world and the Cannes Film Festival is hoping that Iranian filmmakers will be free to make the films they want, and be able to show them in the big overseas festivals. That’s the case with Farhadi. It must also be the case for Rasoulof and Panahi.”

 

Kenyan interior minister: 59 dead in al-Shabaab mall attack

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

An injured Kenyan man arrives at Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi after the attack on Nairobi mall, September 21, 2013. (AFP)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Al Arabiya

Kenya’s interior Cabinet secretary said on Sunday that at least 59 people were killed and 175 wounded in the attack by al-Qaeda-linked militants at an upscale mall in Nairobi.

“We still have hostages in the mall, and this makes the operation delicate. We have 59 people who have been killed so far,” Joseph Ole Lenku said.

Lenku said Sunday that about 1,000 people have been rescued so far from the Westgate mall.

The gunmen remain inside with hostages nearly 24 hours after the attack was launched with grenades and assault rifles.

Lenku said that there are 10 to 15 attackers involved. He said that Kenyan forces have control of the security cameras inside the mall. Combined military and police forces have surrounded the building.

Somali al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group al-Shabaab said on Twitter that the attack was in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia.

“The Mujahideen entered #Westgate Mall today at around noon and are still inside the mall, fighting the #Kenyan Kuffar (infidels) inside their own turf,” al-Shabaab said on Twitter on Saturday, according to AFP.

“What Kenyans are witnessing at #Westgate is retributive justice for crimes committed by their military,” the group said.

Fresh gunfire

Gunfire erupted briefly on Sunday inside the Nairobi shopping mall where Islamist militants remain along with hostages, the day after around 59 people were killed in an attack by the al-Shabaab group.

Shortly before shots were heard, which erupted as Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was making a national address, more than a dozen security personnel dressed in green camouflage were seen moving into the building, according to a Reuters witness.

Kenyatta said on Sunday that his country “will not relent on the war on terror,” according to Reuters, when asked if he plans to pull Kenyan forces out of Somalia.

When asked whether hostages in the besieged mall had explosives strapped to them, Kenyatta said he had no comment to make.

Two French citizens were killed in Saturday’s “terrorist” attack on a Nairobi shopping mall, the French presidential palace said in a statement.

France’s premier Francois Hollande “condemns the cowardly attack in the strongest terms and shares the pain of the family of our compatriots,” said the statement.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also said that at least three Britons were killed.

Kenyan forces entered Somalia two years ago to combat al-Shabaab militants, and maintain a presencein the country as part of an African Union force that supports Somalia’s internationally-backed government.
(With the Associated Press, Reuters and AFP)

Tunisian girls return home pregnant after ‘sexual jihad’ in Syria

Friday, September 20th, 2013

A number of Tunisian girls who had travelled to Syria for “sexual jihad” have returned home pregnant, the government says. (Photo courtesy of www.febrayer.com)

Friday, 20 September 2013

Al Arabiya

A number of Tunisian girls who had travelled to Syria to perform “sexual jihad” there have returned back home pregnant, Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Bin Jeddo said on Thursday.

The Tunisian girls “are (sexually) swapped between 20, 30, and 100 rebels and they come back bearing the fruit of sexual contacts in the name of sexual jihad and we are silent doing nothing and standing idle,” the non-partisan minister said during an address to the National Constituent Assembly.

Bin Jeddo said the interior ministry has banned 6,000 Tunisians from travelling to Syria since March 2013 and arrested 86 individuals suspected of forming “networks” that send Tunisian youth for “jihad” to Syria.

The minister hit back at human rights groups criticizing the government’s decision to ban suspected “jihadists” from travel. Most of those slapped with travel bans were less than 35 years old, he said.

“Our youths are positioned in the frontlines and are taught how to steal and raid (Syrian) villages,” Bin Jeddo said.

Former Mufti of Tunisia Sheikh Othman Battikh said in April that 13 Tunisian girls “were fooled” into travelling to Syria to offer their sexual services to rebels fighting to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The mufti, who was dismissed from his post days afterwards, described the so-called “sexual Jihad” as a form of “prostitution.”

“For Jihad in Syria, they are now pushing girls to go there. 13 young girls have been sent for sexual jihad. What is this? This is called prostitution. It is moral educational corruption,” the mufti told reporters.

In August, general director of the public security service Mostafa Bin Omar said a “sexual jihad cell” was broken up in an area west of the country where al-Qaead fighters holed up.

Bin Omar told reporters that al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Shariah was using minor girls, dressed in the full face cover to offer sexual services for jihadist male fighters.

Al-Qaeda kills 56 soldiers, policemen in southern Yemen

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Dead soldiers are wrapped in blankets after gunmen opened fire at the military headquarters in Mayfaa, Yemen’s southern province of Shabwa Sept. 20, 2013. (Reuters)

Friday, 20 September 2013

Fresh attacks attributed to al-Qaeda militants in Yemen killed 56 policemen and soldiers early Friday, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported from Sanaa.

Car bombs targeted two military sites at Yemen’s southern governorate of Shabwa. Around 20 died when two car bombs exploded at a military camp in al-Nashama and about 10 were killed by gunmen in the town of Mayfaa.

Officials believe the attacks were carried by suspected members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a local source told Reuters.

A concealed bomb in one car exploded among a group of soldiers at the gate of the al-Nashama camp as the driver sought to enter. The other was already inside the camp when it exploded, one of the security sources said.

In Mayfaa, gunmen opened fire on a military headquarters, killing around 10 people, before escaping in stolen army vehicles, local residents told Reuters.

AQAP is seen by Western countries as one of the most dangerous branches of al Qaeda because it has attempted to carry out bombings on international airlines.

The Shabwa Province is a lawless, rugged area that has been the scene of much fighting in recent years between Islamist militants and the security forces.

 

(With Reuters)

Iran plots revenge over Syria, US says

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Foxnews

The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria, officials said, amid an expanding array of reprisal threats across the region.

Military officials have been trying to predict the range of possible responses from Syria, Iran and their allies. U.S. officials said they are on alert for Iran’s fleet of small, fast boats in the Persian Gulf, where American warships are positioned. U.S. officials also fear Hezbollah could attack the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

While the U.S. has moved military resources in the region for a possible strike, it has other assets in the area that would be ready to respond to any reprisals by Syria, Iran or its allies.

Those deployments include a strike group of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and three destroyers in the Red Sea, and an amphibious ship, the USS San Antonio, in the Eastern Mediterranean, which would help with any evacuations.

The U.S. military has also readied Marines and other assets to aid evacuation of diplomatic compounds if needed, and the State Department began making preparations last week for potential retaliation against U.S. embassies and other interests in the Middle East and North Africa.

U.S. officials began planning for a possible strike on Syrian regime assets after the Aug. 21 attack outside Damascus in which the U.S. says Syrian government forces killed over 1,400 people using chemical weapons. The U.S. military has prepared options for an attack and beefed up its military resources in the region, including positioning four destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Syria: William Hague snubs Labour call to include Iran in peace talks

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

UK foreign secretary wary of Iranian participation, claiming it is actively engaged in assisting murder by Assad regime

The Guardian

  • Patrick Wintour, political editor
  • theguardian.com, 
Douglas Alexander

Douglas Alexander called for the creation of a Syrian contact group involving key countries in the region, including Iran and Saudi Arabia. Photograph: PA

The foreign secretary, William Hague, has rejected Labour calls for Iranto be included in Syrian peace talks, saying the Iranian regime was actively engaged in assisting widespread murder by the Assad regime, and had not yet expressed support for a transitional government in Syria.

The shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, had called for a Syrian contact group to be formed involving key countries in the region, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, designed to kickstart a second round of peace talks in Geneva.

Iranian involvement was also supported by the former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw and some Tory MPs during Foreign Office questions on Tuesday.

Hague said he was willing to meet the new Iranian foreign minister at a UN special assembly in New York, but questioned the over-optimistic view of Iranian diplomacy among some MPs.

Hague rejected the idea of a contact group proposed by Alexander and seen by Labour as successful in Lebanon.

Hague was wary of Iranian involvement, pointing out that Tehran had not been prepared to endorse the outcome of the first Geneva conference calling for a transitional government in Syria. He also said Iran was “actively engaged in assisting widespread murder by the Assad regime”.

He said it was not a lack of forums that was a stumbling block to a settlement on Syria, but the lack of political agreement.

He explained: “Our problem is not being unable to discuss these things in the international community – it is being unable to agree how we bring about a transitional government in Syria, formed from government and opposition by mutual consent.

“There is no shortage of venues for discussing those things, platforms for discussing those things – we have had two and a half years of discussion on this. It is agreement that is elusive, not a forum for discussion.”

Hague also assured Conservative MPs that there would not be a second vote on UK involvement in any attack on the Syrian regime. He stressed that any vote would not be on the same terms, suggesting that the government was keeping its options open in case circumstances changed radically.

The cabinet also reviewed the state of the diplomatic, humanitarian and military crisis on Syria, and agreed a second Commons vote was impossible after David Cameron’s unexpected defeat last Thursday.

It was notable that Hague held back from attacking Labour’s stance on Syria, but it is unlikely that Cameron will be as constrained at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday.

Labour has been keen to set out a fresh diplomatic path in light of its rejection of a military route.

Alexander expressed disappointment that Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special envoy, will not be attending the G20 summit in St Petersburg on Thursday and Friday.

After the Commons exchanges Alexander said: “It is deeply disappointing that the foreign secretary has apparently accepted that world leaders won’t even get to discuss Syria collectively at the G20 summit in Russia this week.

“As the leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies meet this week, the UK must request that the Syrian crisis is top of the agenda, not just discussed on the margins of the meeting.

“Sadly, the foreign secretary today appeared to rule out the UK pressing for UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to be invited to the G20 summit, and for a Syria contact group to be created as a matter of urgency.

“The scale of the suffering in Syria demands a more active diplomatic engagement ahead of this week’s summit.”

Hague said Syria would dominate the bilaterals at the G20, but the formal summit organised by Russia, one of Assad’s strongest allies, is under the control of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

He pointed out that Russia supported a second Geneva conference and it was incumbent on Russia to do more.

Hague also said more would have to be done to help with the refugee crisis on the borders of Syria, saying the British government has already spent more than £350m to help the Syrian humanitarian crisis now estimated to involve 2 million refugees.

He added: “There have often been, and continues to be, severe problems of humanitarian access – often not permitted by the regime.

“It is another testimony towards the callousness of this regime towards its own people that not only have they killed so many tens of thousands but also that they obstruct the delivery of aid, including medical supplies, to people in their own country who desperately need it.”

RPT-Iran boosts iron exports to China, India as oil sales slump

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:07pm EDT

(Repeats story that ran late on Friday with no changes to text)

* Iran iron ore exports to China up 35 pct in Jan-July

* Iran sponge iron export to India set to jump to 500,000 T in 2013/14 -traders

* Sponge iron export routed through Dubai, Turkey - source

By Krishna N Das and Silvia Antonioli

NEW DELHI/LONDON, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Iran is raising its exports of iron ore and iron products to China and India in an attempt to replace at least a small part of the massive revenue that has been lost due to sanctions on its oil sales.

While Iran’s oil exports have halved in the last few years due to western sanctions over the country’s disputed nuclear program, iron ore exports have grown by more than 60 percent over the same period to an annual rate of about 25 million tonnes, worth about $3 billion a year at current prices.

The extra billion dollars a year that Iran is gaining from the additional iron exports, however, is still very small when compared with the loss in oil revenue of roughly $35 billion a year.

“Sanctions have forced Iran to look at other ways of earning export revenues besides oil and gas, and the mineral sector has been doing pretty well. I know there has been quite a substantial increase in things like iron ore exports,” said Mehdi Varzi, a former official at the state-run National Iranian Oil Co, who now runs an energy consultancy in the UK.

Iran’s oil revenue was $69 billion in 2012, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

It has overtaken India to become the fourth-largest iron ore supplier toChina in the last year. Iran’s exports to the world’s top iron ore consumer rose 35 percent to 13.4 million tonnes in the seven months to July, according to Chinese customs figures.

“We’re selling more iron to India and China,” said an Iranian industry source on condition of anonymity. “No money is coming directly to Iran because of the issues with currency (trading in dollars), so in some cases there are some barter deals, otherwise cargoes are paid mostly with cash.”

Mines are “being opened every week” in Iran as businessmen there see it as a profitable business and one of the few sectors not sanctioned yet, said the source.

Chinese buyers of iron ore see Iran as a welcome alternative to leading suppliers Australia andBrazil.

While China primarily buys raw iron ore, the Islamic Republic is also boosting its exports to India of sponge iron, often referred to as direct-reduction iron.

Sponge iron is an alternative steelmaking ingredient produced by heating iron ore at a temperature high enough to burn off its carbon and oxygen content and is economically viable where natural gas is abundant and cheap.

Indian makers of sponge iron, the world’s top producers, who are already grappling with high production costs, are suffering from the more aggressive Iranian exports.

Iran, the world’s second-largest producer of sponge iron, has boosted its output of the iron product by about 50 percent so far this year, according to data from the World Steel Association.

Iranian sponge iron exports to India have risen to 80,000 tonnes in April-July from 45,000 tonnes for the whole of fiscal year ended March, said Prakash Tatia, a director at Mumbai-based sponge iron maker Welspun Maxsteel.

Tatia, who is also the vice-chairman of India’s Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association (SIMA), said the data was based on inputs from port sources and traders in India and overseas.

SANCTION SAFE?

Some of Iran’s growing iron ore production is being used to satisfy higher domestic consumption, since it is trying to make up for a collapse in imports of steel, a sector heavily affected by Western sanctions.

“As far as Iran goes I think the increase in iron exports is surprising to most given the sanctions imposed on them,” said Kashaan Kamal, research analyst at commodity brokerage Sucden Financial in London.

Like iron ore, sponge iron does not directly come under Western sanctions, but if the exporter is part of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or is on the U.S.’ Specially Designated Nationals list, this could trigger sanctions on the foreign buyer, said Nathan Carleton, communications director at advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran.

“If this sponge iron is also being used as a medium for barter, this could also trigger sanctions,” Carleton said.

Buyers in India, however, appeared unconcerned about such a risk.

Welspun’s Tatia said Iran was targeting selling 500,000 tonnes of sponge iron to India this fiscal year to take advantage of a drop in Indian output due to a shortage of iron ore and gas. He said the figure was given to Indian traders by Iranian ore exporters.

At current sponge iron prices of about $400 a tonne, this would represent revenue of about $200 million for Iran, a drain on India given its current account deficit, said Tatia.

Indian sponge iron companies are growing increasingly concerned over higher volumes of more aggressively-priced Iranian imports, said Deependra Kashiva, executive director at SIMA.

Foreign traders route their Iranian products via other countries to avoid any difficulty in getting letters of credit from banks, Kashiva said.

“All the countries surrounding Iran are benefiting from the situation as everyone has to buy via Dubai, via Turkey,” said the Iranian industry source. (Additional reporting by Ruby Lian in SHANGHAI, Alex Lawler and Peg Mackay in LONDON, and Manolo Serapio Jr in SINGAPORE; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Al-Qaeda Vowed to ‘Change the Face of History’

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Yemen’s president: A vow by Al-Qaeda to carry out an attack that would “change the face of history” led to closures of Western embassies.

israelnationalnews.com

By Elad Benari, Canada

First Publish: 8/24/2013, 12:05 AM

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
AFP photo

A vow by Al-Qaeda to carry out an attack that would “change the face of history” was behind this month’s closures of Western embassies, the president of Yemen revealed Friday, according to Reuters.

In the first public disclosure by a government leader of details of the intercepted call that prompted the U.S. alert,President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said that Nasser al-Wuhayshi, head of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, made the pledge to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on July 29.

Many U.S. and other Western diplomatic missions in the Middle East, Africa and Asia closed temporarily as a precaution.

Wuhayshi spoke by phone with Zawahiri, who is believed to be based in Pakistan, while attending a meeting of 20 Al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen’s Maarib province, Hadi said.

“When I was in Washington, the Americans told us that they had intercepted a call between Ayman al-Zawahiri and Wuhayshi, in which Wuhayshi told Zawahiri that they would carry out an attack that would change the face of history,” the president told police cadets in remarks which state television aired on Friday.

“I told the Americans this would be in Yemen,” he said, apparently reflecting a belief among some analysts that AQAP lacks the ability to launch big attacks outside the country.

Hadi added that two cars, each carrying seven tonnes of explosives, were later identified in Yemen by security forces.

The first, intended to attack the Mina al-Dhabba oil terminal in southeast Yemen, was destroyed.

The second car was headed for the capital Sanaa and is still unaccounted for, though Hadi said authorities had arrested the cell which was in charge of smuggling it into the city.

“This made them (the Americans) scared and they closed their embassies in the whole region, because they heard Wuhayshi say he would carry out an attack that would change the course of history,” Hadi said.

The New York Times reported recently that the Obama administration’s decision to close the diplomatic missions resulted from intercepted electronic communications in which Zawahiri ordered Wuhayshi to carry out an attack a Middle East embassy.

U.S. sources have said that while some type of message between Zawahri and AQAP was intercepted recently, there were also other streams of intelligence that contributed to the security alert.

The U.S. embassy in Sanaa reopened on August 18. It was one of about 20 U.S. embassies and consulates that closed.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Iranian Sentenced To Life, Another Gets 15 Years Over Bomb Plot

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Iranian Saeid Moradi had his legs blown off as he hurled a bomb at Thai police.

Iranian Saeid Moradi had his legs blown off as he hurled a bomb at Thai police.

RFE/RL

August 22, 2013

A Thai court has sentenced one Iranian man to life in prison and given another a 15-year jail term in connection with their involvement in a bomb plot that investigators believe was aimed at Israeli diplomats in Bangkok.

Saeid Moradi received a life sentence on August 22 on charges of attempting to murder a Thai police officer and illegally possessing explosives.

Moradi had his legs blown off in the incident in February, 2012.

Mohammad Kharzei received 15 years in jail for possession of explosives.

Both men had pleaded innocent. Investigators said it appeared the explosives detonated by accident prematurely.

The Bangkok incident followed attacks in Georgia and India last year that targeted Israeli diplomats.

Israel has accused Iranian authorities of mounting a terrorist campaign against the Jewish state.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

Report: Al-Qaeda plotting terror attacks on European rail network

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Yemeni al-Qaeda militants sentenced for plotting attacks in Yemen at a court in Sana’a earlier this year. (AFP)

Monday, 19 August 2013

Al Arabiya

Extremist group al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on Europe’s high-speed rail network, reported German newspaper Bild on Monday.

Attacks could include explosives planted on trains and tunnels or sabotage to tracks and electrical cabling, said Europe’s most widely read daily newspaper.

Bild said the information came from the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States, which had listened in to a conference call involving high-ranking al-Qaeda operatives in which attacks on Europe’s rail network was a “central topic” of this call, the Bild said.

Authorities in Germany have responded to the threat by deploying plain-clothed police officers at key stations and on main routes.

Terror alerts have been at an all-time high this month due to an earlier call between al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri and other operatives.

This prompted the U.S. and several allies to temporarily shut embassies across the Muslim world, warning of al-Qaeda plans to launch an attack in the Middle East or North Africa.

American al-Qaeda militant urges attacks on U.S. diplomats

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

American al Qaeda militant Adam Gadahn has called for more attacks on Western diplomats in the Arab world. (File Photo: Reuters)

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Reuters, Dubai

An American al-Qaeda militant has called for more attacks on Western diplomats in the Arab world, praising the killers of the U.S. ambassador to Libya on September 11 last year, a U.S.-based monitoring group said on Sunday.

Western nations shut embassies across the Middle East and North Africa early this month, after a warning of a possible militant attack. Many have reopened, and Britain said its Yemen embassy would open on Sunday after being closed for 12 days.

Adam Gadahn, a California-born convert to Islam with a $1 million U.S. price on his head, appealed to wealthy Muslims to offer militants rewards to kill ambassadors in the region, citing bounty set for killing the U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Washington-based SITE monitoring group said.

“These prizes have a great effect in instilling fear in the hearts of our cowardly enemies,” Gadahn said in the 39-minute video recording in Arabic posted on websites used by Islamist militants, according to SITE.

“They also encourage hesitant individuals to carry out important and great deeds in the path of Allah,” he said, in an English transcript on SITE.

The Yemen-based branch of al-Qaeda last year offered 3 kg (106 ounces) of gold for the killing of the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa or 5 million rials ($23,350) for an American soldier in the impoverished Arab state.

U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Libya’s Benghazi in 2012 when Islamist gunmen attacked the U.S. consulate during a protest by a mob angry over a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.

Gadahn has called for attacks on U.S. diplomats before. In August 2007, he said al-Qaeda would target diplomats and embassies in retaliation for U.S.-led military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The FBI has been trying to question Gadahn – believed to be in Pakistan – since 2004 and the U.S. government has offered up to $1 million in cash for information leading to his arrest.

Maine Radio Q106.5

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Maine Radio Q106.5

Host: Susan Patten / An interview with Reza Kahlili

Tired of the Terror Threat? Want Middle East Peace America? Deal With Iran

August 14, 2013 1:25 PM

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