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German intelligence foiled 2016 Islamic State terror attack

Intelligence officials in Germany thwarted a 2016 attack that was planned by the "Islamic State" militant group. A couple who traveled to Syria was said to be trying to send teams of militants back to Germany. Three teams of "Islamic State" (IS) terrorists were to have traveled to Germany in 2016 to prepare for and carry out a devastating attack – with the target possibly a music festival. A man, Oguz G., and woman, Marcia M., who traveled to Syrian in autumn 2015 to join IS were to have played a central role in the attack. From IS' then-de facto capital of Raqqa, Marcia M. — who was herself a convert to Islam — tried to recruit women in northern Germany to marry IS members so that they could be granted permission to enter Germany. However, one of the women who was contacted was an informant for Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), who alerted authorities. Details of the case emerged after an investigation by the German broadcasters ARD and WDR, as well as the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Zeit newspapers. The case was confirmed by the German Federal Prosecutor's Office. "We learned of the attack plan, so we were able to able to initiate criminal proceedings in October 2016," Public Prosecutor General Peter Frank told ARD. "For us, the facts in the case were very concrete and also credible."   In Kurdish custody The plans were foiled both as a result of the investigation and the purging of IS from areas that it once occupied. Zeit reported that the couple handed themselves in to Kurdish authorities in October 2017. Since then, they have been held in detention in northern Syria. Read more: Germany: How do terrorist groups compare? There, reporters interviewed the Oguz G., who was reported to come from the German city of Hildesheim, in the northern state of Lower Saxony. He claimed to have become embroiled in the attack plan accidentally and to have tried to get out of the situation once he knew about the attack plan. The plot is thought to have been initiated by a high-ranking IS official with the combat name Abu Mussab al Almani, possibly relating to Swiss Islamist militant Thomas C., who died in fighting in Syria.

Intelligence officials in Germany thwarted a 2016 attack that was planned by the “Islamic State” militant group. A couple who traveled to Syria was said to be trying to send teams of militants back to Germany. Three teams of “Islamic State” (IS) terrorists were to have traveled to Germany in 2016 to prepare for and carry out a devastating attack ... Read More »

Iraq declares ‘end of war’ against ‘Islamic State’

عراقی فوج کی جانب سے ہفتہ نو دسمبر کو جاری کیے گئے ایک بیان میں دعویٰ کیا گیا ہے کہ سارے ملک پر سے دہشت گرد تنظیم ’اسلامک اسٹیٹ‘ کا جہاں بھی قبضہ تھا، وہ ختم کر دیا گیا ہے۔ اس کے علاوہ یہ بھی کہا گیا کہ اب داعش کو پوری طرح شکست دے دی گئی ہے۔ عراقی وزیراعظم حیدر العبادی نے بھی کہا ہے کہ عراق کے طول و عرض میں ’اسلامک اسٹیٹ‘ کے خلاف مکمل فتع کے بعد جاری جنگ ختم ہو گئی ہے۔ العبادی کے مطابق سارے عراق اور شام کے ساتھ ملحقہ سرحد پر اب اُن کی فوج کا کنٹرول ہے۔

The Iraqi premier has announced the defeat of “Islamic State” after months of fighting to uproot the militant group. But European authorities have warned that its ideology still remains a threat to global security. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday announced the “end of the war” against the “Islamic State” (IS) militant group, saying Iraqi security forces regained control ... Read More »

‘Islamic State’ claims New York attack

The terror group says that the man who killed eight people and injured 12 is their "soldier." However, IS has been known to claim attacks to which it has no direct link, such as last year's deadly shooting in Orlando. "Islamic State" (IS) terrorists said on Thursday that the man who killed eight people in a truck rampage was a "soldier" of their "caliphate." However, IS routinely makes similar claims with little to no evidence of direct involvement. "One of the soldiers of the Islamic State attacked a number of crusaders on a street in New York City," said the group's al-Naba weekly newspaper, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The suspect, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, killed eight people and injured 12 others in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday when he plowed a rented truck into a bike path near the Hudson River. Most of his victims were tourists, including five Argentine men who had come to New York to celebrate their 30th graduation anniversary. Doubtful claims Whether or not the 29-year-old assailant was in direct contact with IS militants remains to be seen. The group has often taken credit for the actions of self-radicalized attackers, such as Omar Mateen — the man who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016. The suspect in the attack was charged with terrorism offenses in federal court on Wednesday. He came to the US in 2010 and worked as an Uber driver before the attack. Acquaintances have told the press that he did not seem to be a particularly observant Muslim until recently. The assailant told authorities that he became radicalized by watching IS propaganda videos online.

The terror group says that the man who killed eight people and injured 12 is their “soldier.” However, IS has been known to claim attacks to which it has no direct link, such as last year’s deadly shooting in Orlando. “Islamic State” (IS) terrorists said on Thursday that the man who killed eight people in a truck rampage was a ... Read More »

Belgium: Police detain four suspects over foiled 2015 Thalys train terror attack

Two raids have taken plane in the Molenbeek district in Brussels. Authorities have warned of an increased likelihood of a terrorist attack on European soil by fighters returning from the Middle East. Police in Belgium arrested four people in connection with a terrorism investigation into a 2015 attack on a high-speed Paris-bound Thalys train, according to prosecutors. Authorities raided at least six properties in Brussels and southern Belgium. "Four people were taken in for questioning," prosecutors said in a statement. Read more: 'Islamic State': Will it survive a post-caliphate future? At least two of the raids took place in the Belgian capital's Molenbeek district. "Neither explosives nor weapons were found" during the raids on Monday, prosecutors added. Investigating judges are expected to decide later whether to keep the suspects in detention. Wave of attacks A bloodbath was avoided in August 2015 when passengers – including two off-duty US soldiers – subdued Ayoub el-Khazzani, who was armed with a Kalashnikov, a pistol and box cutter. Belgium and France have been on high-alert following a series of deadly terrorist attacks. In November 2015, the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for devastating attacks across Paris that left 130 people dead. Read more: EU introduces new measures to combat 'low-tech' terrorism Months later, IS militants launched attacks on Brussels Airport and a central subway station, leaving 32 people dead. With IS losing territory in the Middle East, authorities have warned of the growing possibility of attacks on European soil with fighters making their way to their home countries in Europe.

Two raids have taken plane in the Molenbeek district in Brussels. Authorities have warned of an increased likelihood of a terrorist attack on European soil by fighters returning from the Middle East. Police in Belgium arrested four people in connection with a terrorism investigation into a 2015 attack on a high-speed Paris-bound Thalys train, according to prosecutors. Authorities raided at ... Read More »

Syria: Russia sees end in sight at peace talks

Russia's military campaign objectives "have been almost accomplished," according to an influential lawmaker. With talks gearing up, the UN's chief negotiator said the peace process had reached a "moment of truth." A senior Russian lawmaker on Monday said Russia's military mandate in Syria could be nearing its end given the latest advancements by pro-government forces in the conflict-ridden country. Vladimir Shamanov, who sits as chairman of Russian parliament's defense committee, told a meeting at the Kazakh parliament that the "major tasks" of Moscow's military campaign in Syria "have been almost accomplished," according to Russia's state-run news agency TASS. Read more: Asma al-Assad: The beautiful face of dictatorship "We expect that by the end of this year (Syrian) government forces will restore control over the eastern border of the Syrian Arab Republic and the 'Islamic State' won't exist anymore as an organized military structure," Shamanov said. In September 2015, Russia launched an aerial campaign in Syria in what Moscow claimed was an offensive to defeat terrorist forces in the country, including the "Islamic State" militant group and al-Qaeda. However, Russia's move was largely viewed by the international community as a ploy to prop up the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Towards a political solution Another round of de-escalation talks co-sponsored by Turkey, Iran and Russia kicked off in Astana on Monday with the aim of ending Syria's conflict. Kazakhstan's foreign ministry confirmed that delegations from the Syrian government and rebels seeking to overthrow Assad arrived in the capital along with those from Turkey, Russia and Iran. Read more: Turkey needles NATO by buying Russian weapons While UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva have focused on securing a political solution, the talks in Astana have provided concrete grounds to move forward between parties, including the establishment of de-escalation zones to minimize fighting between pro-government forces and moderate rebel factions. Last week, the UN's chief negotiator, Staffan de Mistura, announced the resumption of peace talks in Geneva on November 28, saying he hoped talks in Astana will "prevent further unraveling of interim de-escalation and cease-fire arrangements." 'Moment of truth' In Syria, more than 330,000 people have been killed since 2011, when government forces launched a brutal crackdown against peaceful protesters calling for Damascus to release political prisoners and for Assad to step down. Read more: 'Islamic State': Will it survive a post-caliphate future? However, since then, the civil war has turned into a multi-pronged conflict involving global powers, neighboring countries and non-state actors, including the US, Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda-affiliated groups. "We need to get the parties into real negotiations," De Mistura told the UN Security Council last week, adding that after the defeat of the "Islamic State," the Syrian peace process had reached a "moment of truth."

Russia’s military campaign objectives “have been almost accomplished,” according to an influential lawmaker. With talks gearing up, the UN’s chief negotiator said the peace process had reached a “moment of truth.” A senior Russian lawmaker on Monday said Russia’s military mandate in Syria could be nearing its end given the latest advancements by pro-government forces in the conflict-ridden country. Vladimir ... Read More »

Iraqi forces press last IS stronghold, attack Kurds

Government troops have turned to the terrorists' last bastion on the Syrian border, having already recaptured 90 percent of Iraqi land from IS. At the same time, Baghdad was rekindling conflict with the country's Kurds. Iraqi troops launched an offensive on Thursday to retake the last "Islamic State" (IS) stronghold in their country, the western towns of al-Qaim and Rawa. "Daeshis have no option but to die or surrender," said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, using Arabic shorthand for IS militants. According to Iraqi media, the US-led air alliance was assisting in the assault. Baghdad has won several major victories against IS recently, most importantly driving them from Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, in July. Last month, Iraqi troops liberated the town of Hawija, the group's last foothold in the country's north. In total, government fighters have retaken 90 percent of the vast swaths of its land, which IS seized in their 2014 sweep through Iraq and Syria. Armed conflict with Kurds However, the new offensive on al-Qaim and Rawa came as Baghdad seemed to be reigniting armed conflict with the country's semi-autonomous Kurdish region. On Thursday, Kurdish authorities said government soldiers had begun assaulting their forces in the disputed and oil-rich Nineveh province. "They are advancing towards peshmerga positions," the regional government said. Kurdish peshmerga fighters have played an integral role in the fight against IS, and the US-led alliance have often relied on their expertise in the region. As the government made strides against IS, it also tried to tighten federal control on Kurdish areas, forcing the Kurdish authorities to abandon its key source of funds, the rich oil fields of Kirkuk, in a massive blow to the region's self-sufficiency.

Government troops have turned to the terrorists’ last bastion on the Syrian border, having already recaptured 90 percent of Iraqi land from IS. At the same time, Baghdad was rekindling conflict with the country’s Kurds. Iraqi troops launched an offensive on Thursday to retake the last “Islamic State” (IS) stronghold in their country, the western towns of al-Qaim and Rawa. ... Read More »

US-backed SDF captures Syria’s largest oil field from ‘Islamic State’

Russia has accused the US of "barbaric" bombardment of Raqqa, after US-backed forces took control of the city earlier this week. Forces on both sides are racing to reclaim land in Syria's oil-rich Deir el-Zour province. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, on Sunday captured one of Syria's largest oil fields in the Deir el-Zour province. Riding on the heels of victory against the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group in Raqqa, the SDF is racing to seize parts of Syria's oil-rich province. The news came as Russia's Defense Ministry accused the United States and its coalition partners of erasing Raqqa, the former IS stronghold, off the map, likening it to Allied bombing of Dresden during World War II. He claimed Western announcements of aid for the city seek "to hide evidence of the barbaric bombing." Earlier, Kurdish-led forces announced they had taken full control of the Al-Omar oil field in eastern Syria after forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad came under attack from IS militants. The SDF added that pro-government forces were about 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) away from the oil field. The US-backed forces have been engaged in a monthslong campaign to uproot IS in Syria. It was unclear how the Syrian regime, backed by Russia, Iran and Shiite militias, would respond to the seizure of the oil field. The regime has vowed to retake all the territory, and Deir el-Zour's oil wealth would be a key prize for Damascus. Oil profits Considered the largest of its kind in Syria, the Al-Omar oil field produced 30,000 barrels per day before the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, when government forces launched a deadly crackdown on peaceful protesters calling for Assad to step down. Read more: 'Islamic State' gold remains hard to trace However, the US-led coalition against IS destroyed the oil field in 2015, after the militant group managed to make an estimated $5.1 million (€4.3 million) per month off oil sale revenues. IS seized oil fields across the region, with black market oil comprising one of its revenue streams, alongside extortion and looting. Liberating Raqqa IS has lost most of the territory it managed to capture in 2014, when it launched a blitzkrieg campaign across Syria and Iraq. Read more: The human cost of degrading 'Islamic State' Last week, the SDF announced it had liberated Raqqa, once considered the de facto IS capital, from which it staged mass beheadings and hatched plans for attacks on European soil. The monthslong offensive to retake the city, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes, has displaced more than 200,000 civilians and turned large parts of the city into rubble. In a statement Sunday, Russia's Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said thousands of civilians had been killed by the US and its coalition partners in the battle for Raqqa. The United States and other powers have accused Russian and Syrian air forces of indiscriminate bombing, most notably in an offensive to retake Aleppo from rebels last year.

Russia has accused the US of “barbaric” bombardment of Raqqa, after US-backed forces took control of the city earlier this week. Forces on both sides are racing to reclaim land in Syria’s oil-rich Deir el-Zour province. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, on Sunday captured one of Syria’s largest oil fields in the ... Read More »

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency warns of ‘IS’ sympathizers

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says 'IS' sympathizers returning to the country could pose a security risk. The agency's head also warned of the increasing threat of cyberwarfare. One would think that Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the country's domestic intelligence agency, would be relieved by news of the fall of the "Islamic State" (IS) terror group's Syrian capital in Raqqa and its subsequent retreat. Heavy IS losses could dampen the morale of potential attackers in Europe and Germany. One might assume that the more influence IS loses in the region, the less appealing its ideology might become. But Germany's domestic intelligence agency contends that things are not that simple. "We see the threat of children, socialized by Islamists, and thus accordingly indoctrinated, returning to Germany from a war zone," BfV President Hans-Georg Maassen said in Berlin on Wednesday. According to the BfV, more than 950 Germans are currently in Syria and Iraq: of these, 20 percent are women and five percent are children. Security authorities assume that, as the situation on the ground there deteriorates, many of them will soon be returning to Germany. The BfV believes that, if that happens, it could pose a security risk to the country. Authorities say their concern is compounded by the fact that IS directly targets children and youths in its propaganda. Some videos found online even show children participating in executions. Maassen says he fears "the possibility that a new generation of jihadis is being created." Maassen said that all members of society need to "take a very serious look" at what his agency outlined as a threat and be prepared to defend themselves against it. The BfV has, among other things, set up a hotline for those seeking advice or offering tips. The agency is also hoping to get help from asylum seekers. Maassen told DW that his agency has already received hundreds of tips from refugees. "We operate on the assumption that many of these tips are real and thus worth us following them up;" he said. Cyberwar threat The BfV also outlined on Thursday what it called another potential area of threat: cyberwar. Maassen has long been warning about Russian cyber activity, although his fears that Russia would attempt to influence Germany's recent election with fake news appear not to have come to fruition. Such concern generally was heightened after the 2015 cyberattack on the IT system of Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. The BfV believes that Russia was behind that attack. Read more:New EU cyber strategy aims to cut crime Speaking at a public hearing of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee for Intelligence Agencies (PKGr) in early October, Maassen said that the decision of whether or not to use stolen information is always a "political decision." Adding that he feels decision-makers in Moscow may well have decided that, "the political costs of using such information in the German elections was simply too high." Russia experienced significant backlash in the US over its alleged meddling in the country's 2016 presidential election. The incident made the general public wary "that there was Russian involvement, of a disinformation campaign," Maassen said. Cyberactivity in Iran The BfV also announced it has registered an uptick in Germany-related cyberactivity emanating from Iran. As evidence, the agency presented a fake Angela Merkel quote that was broadly disseminated on new sites across the Middle East and Eastern Europe as part of an anti-Saudi propaganda campaign. Maassen addressed what he called the "looming threat of a poisoning of the digital nervous system." He used the threat as justification for further technical upgrades at his agency, saying the "power to launch cyber counterattacks can no longer be a taboo subject." However, the legal framework for such activity does not exist in Germany, nor are there any binding rules on the subject in international law.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says ‘IS’ sympathizers returning to the country could pose a security risk. The agency’s head also warned of the increasing threat of cyberwarfare. One would think that Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the country’s domestic intelligence agency, would be relieved by news of the fall of the “Islamic State” (IS) terror group’s ... Read More »

Germany raises Mosul aid by 100 million euros

Germany has said it will provide an additional 100 million euros in aid to help rebuild the Iraqi city of Mosul after it was recaptured from Islamist extremists. Much of the city is in ruins after months of fighting. The German government says it will massively step up its financial aid to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul after its liberation from so-called "Islamic State" (IS) militants, who held the city for three years. "Now that Mosul has been liberated, we will quickly expand our programs. This year alone we will invest an additional 100 million euros ($117 million) in stabilization and reconstruction," Development Minister Gerd Müller told newspapers of the Funke media group published on Tuesday. "We will save lives, ensure school education and create jobs," Müller said, adding that the focus would be on children, reestablishing the water and electricity supply, building housing, and medical care. The report said that Germany had up to now invested some 50 million euros in stabilizing areas around Mosul where citizens who have fled the city are being housed, and in reconstructing regions that have been freed from the rule of IS. 'Most want to return' Müller said that German support had already enabled more than 60,000 children in Mosul to go to school again and provided 150,000 people with access to vital drinking water. Most people who had fled from IS have remained in the region and want to return to the city, according to Müller, who has visited a refugee camp in the area. "It is important that we do not leave people on their own," he said. He said that IS had caused inconceivable suffering to the people of Mosul, with torture, rape and destruction being the order of the day. The liberation of Mosul from IS control was officially declared by the Iraqi government in mid-July after a months-long campaign involving the Iraqi army, allied militia, the Kurdistan Regional Government and aerial support from a US-led coalition. Read more: German jihadi schoolgirl could face jail in Iraq More than a million people have fled from Mosul and the surrounding area since the government campaign began. Several districts in the city have now been reduced to rubble, and security forces still face the task of removing mines and explosives left by the IS militants.

Germany has said it will provide an additional 100 million euros in aid to help rebuild the Iraqi city of Mosul after it was recaptured from Islamist extremists. Much of the city is in ruins after months of fighting. The German government says it will massively step up its financial aid to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul after its ... Read More »

Children survive ‘Islamic State’ hungry and traumatized

Children have been among those worst hit by "Islamic State" occupation and the battle to liberate Mosul. They suffer malnutrition for lack of food and toxic stress from the violence they witnessed, Judit Neurink reports. "Look, he is walking again!" Hanan Mohammed, 43, smiles, setting her two-year-old on his skinny legs. The family of three recently escaped the Old City of Mosul, where fighting had been going on for weeks, and food and water had been scarce for months. "Daesh left us hungry," she says, using the local abbreviation for the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group. "There was nothing to buy, and what was there was very expensive." That's why she could not feed her children and lost a six-month-old baby to malnutrition. Her son had started walking, but stopped again for the same reason. The single mother of two small children found refuge in Salamiyah, one of the newer camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) from Mosul. Many here have some connection to IS. Mohammed's husband was killed in the shelling - after she divorced him, possibly because he was a member of the militant Islamist group. She and her children lived with her parents and were moved by IS to serve as human shields. There was no water, no food, and there were constant bombardments. Those who tried to escape were killed by IS. Children were as much victims of the battle as the grown-ups, or perhaps even more because they had no choice. The camp houses hundreds of malnourished children, says Kelly Nau of the aid organization Samaritan Purse. She treats the children with special powered food and teaches their mothers about the positive effects of breastfeeding in a country where most mothers think that after 40 days milk formula is better than their own milk. Read more: Amnesty says US-led coalition violated international law in Mosul About five percent of the kids from Mosul are malnourished, many severely, as well as many of the babies under six months. Like Hanan Mohammed, many mothers lost babies. There was hardly any water other than from the river or the wells, and milk powder was no longer available. "I have seen cases that I had never seen before, not even in Sudan or Yemen," Nau says. Monsters, corpses and bombs But malnutrition is hardly the only problem facing children in Mosul, as many carry the scars of the violence, killing and air strikes they witnessed. "Some 650,000 boys and girls have paid a terrible price and endured many horrors over the past three years," while Mosul was occupied by IS, said Hamida Ramadhani, UNICEF's deputy representative in Iraq, in a press release. In the later stages of the battle for the old center of Mosul, aid organizations have saw an increase in the number of unaccompanied children arriving at medical facilities and reception areas. Some had been trapped under the rubble and had stopped eating because of the smell of death around them before they were saved. Some babies brought to them had been found alone in the debris, Ramadhani said. A doctor in a hospital facility in Western Mosul suggested in an interview with the BBC that these were babies belonging to local IS wives whose husbands had been killed and who were trying to rid themselves of their past with the group. Recently a Chechen girl was found wounded in the rubble, the daughter of a Chechen fighter who was killed. The fate of these foreign children looks bleak as the hate directly toward IS boils over in Iraq and Syria. These children will likely be victimized and end up in the special, closed camps set up for local IS families. Read more: Opinion: 'Islamic State' jihadism could live on Yazidi children who were kidnapped three years ago by IS have also been found, all deeply traumatized. Ramadhani pointed out that the deep physical and mental scars kids acquired during the occupation and the battle would take time to heal. It was an "unbearable reality," the title of a report by the aid organization Save the Children based on research conducted among Mosul children in two IDP camps. The children told researchers about their lives under IS rule and their escape from the Old City of Mosul, talking about monsters, dead bodies in the streets, bloodied faces and bombs falling on their homes. Researchers say many children still fear new attacks from the group and have nightmares that haunt them during the day. Children unlike children Most noticeable is that these children are hardly able to act like children and often show "robotic behavior," says Eileen McCarthy of Save the Children, worked on the report. "They are quiet and calm, and when you ask them what is positive for them, they will say: to be polite and abide [by] the rules." Read more: Iraqis wonder what will follow 'Islamic State' in Mosul The majority of children in her research have lost a family member, suffer from nightmares and frequently become aggressive. While aid workers try through art and games to help the kids come to terms with what happened and the effect it has on them, they also work with the equally traumatized parents so they can be supportive of their children, McCarthy told DW. She underlined the necessity for treatment, because stress can become toxic and lead to depression and other health issues. "For children, toxic stress can affect the brain and the behavior and lead to mental health problems in a country where this is considered a stigma." Save the Children has been working with the Iraqi government to combat the problem, McCarthy says, adding that apart from the stigma, the lack of qualified therapists poses a major problem that needs to be addressed. "Young people who have faced traumatic experiences and have not been given the appropriate support [...] may also pass on trauma to their own children," the report states. The researchers warn that "if the root causes of conflict in Iraq are not addressed and if perpetrators of human rights abuses are not brought to justice, trauma can remain chronic and reproduce itself for generations to come. The entire society, then, may suffer from a lasting culture of pain."

Children have been among those worst hit by “Islamic State” occupation and the battle to liberate Mosul. They suffer malnutrition for lack of food and toxic stress from the violence they witnessed, Judit Neurink reports. “Look, he is walking again!” Hanan Mohammed, 43, smiles, setting her two-year-old on his skinny legs. The family of three recently escaped the Old City ... Read More »

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