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Jammu and Kashmir The Buzz

Tunnel suspected to be used by terrorists for infiltration detected in J-K’s Samba sector: DGP


Jammu, November 22

A 150-metre long underground tunnel suspected to be used by terrorists for infiltration was detected by the BSF at the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba sector on Sunday, DGP Dilbag Singh said.

Singh, who along with Border Security Force (BSF) Inspector General, Jammu frontier, N S Jamwal, and Inspector General of Police, Jammu range, Mukesh Singh inspected the scene, said the tunnel was unearthed following investigation into the recent encounter near Nagrota on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

“Police shared some vital inputs found from the encounter scene with the BSF which after hectic efforts, managed to find the tunnel,” the Director General of Police (DGP) told reporters. PTI

 





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Delhi Politics The Buzz

Countries supporting terrorists need to be held guilty: PM Modi at BRICS summit


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 17

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sought the backing of other BRICS members for reforms in the UN Security Council and for the waiver of some Intellectual Property Regulations (IPR) norms for Covid-related development of vaccines, testing and treatment.

Speaking at the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit, PM Modi described the finalisation of the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy as “important achievement” and assured that India will take this work forward during its Chairmanship of BRICS in 2021.

“Terrorism is the biggest problem facing today. Countries that support and help terrorism are also held guilty and we need to fight this problem in a united manner,’’ he said.

The Strategy proposes to work out common measures and more closely coordinate in the UN and other forums on counter-terrorism issues. It also seeks to implement the UN Global CT-Strategy as well as early adoption of the India-piloted Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

While seeking reforms in the UNSC besides the WTO and WHO to correspond to present day realities, PM Modi assured that India as a founding member of the UN was fully committed to multilateralism. India had lost the highest number of peacekeepers on UN duty, he reminded other BRICS members.

India as the Chair of BRICS in 2021 will intensify cooperation in digital health and traditional mission besides seeking to achieve closure on the Russian initiatives launched this year.

The PM spoke on the Atmanirbhar Bharat policy whose twin-aims of self-reliance and resilient India can be a multiplier for the global economy and contribute significantly to global value chains. “We saw this in Covid. Due to the inherent production capacity of Indian pharma, India could send medicines to 150 countries,” he said while referring to the India-South Africa proposal for certain waivers in IPR to Covid 19 vaccine treatment and testing. Interestingly, Brazil is opposed to this proposal while China is backing it.





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Delhi Jammu and Kashmir The Buzz

India declares 18 Pakistan-based individuals as designated terrorists under UAPA


Mukesh Ranjan

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 27

The government on Tuesday declared 18 more Pakistan-based individuals as designated terrorists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, for their involvement in the acts of terrorism on the Indian soil at different periods of time.

The list issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) here today includes the name of Sajid Mir, who was one of the main players in the Mumbai 26/11 attack, and has been described as a Pakistan based LeT’s top commander.

The other prominent names among those designated as terrorists include India’s most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s right-hand man, Chhota Shakeel, and the Bhatkal brothers of the Indian Mujahideen.

The MHA in a statement said: “These individuals are involved in various acts of terrorism from across the border and have been relentless in their nefarious efforts of destabilising the country.”

The full list of declared terrorists under the UAPA

Sajid Mir, also known as Sajid Majeed, Ibrahim Shah, Wasi, Khali and Muhammad Waseem, is the top LeT commander and was one of the main planners of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Yusuf Muzammil, also known as Ahmad Bhai, Yousuf Muzammil Butt and Hurreira Bhai, is the commander of LeT operations in Jammu & Kashmir and accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Abdur Rehman, also known as Makki and Abdul Rehman Makki, is the brother-in-law of Hafiz Saeed — the chief LeT commander and head of LeT political affairs — and served as the head of LeT’s foreign relations department.

Shahid Mehmood, also known as Shahid Mehmood Rehmatullah, is the deputy chief of proscribed organisation Falah-i-lnsaniyat Foundation (FIF), a frontal organisation of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Farhatullah Ghori, also known as Abu Sufiyan, Sardar Sahab and Faru, was involved in the attack on Akshardham Temple (2002) and suicide attack on the Task Force office in Hyderabad (2005).

Abdul Rauf Asghar, also known as Mufti, Mufti Asghar, Saad baba and Maulana Mufti Rauf Asghar, was involved in setting up of training camps in Pakistan for recruitment and militant training and was the key conspirator in the terrorist attack (December 13, 2001) on the Indian Parliament House, New Delhi.

Ibrahim Athar, also known as Ahmed Ali Mohd, Ali Shaikh, Javed Amjad Siddiqui and AA Shaikh, was involved in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight no. lC-814 on December 24, 1999, (Kandhar hijacking case) and was also the key conspirator in the Indian Parliament terrorist attack (December 13, 2001).

Yusuf Azhar, also known as Azhar Yusuf and Mohd Salim, was involved in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight no. lC-814 on December 24, 1999 (Kandhar hijacking case).

Shahid Latif, also known as Chota Shahid Bhai and Noor Al-Din, is the JeM’s commander of the Sialkot sector and was involved in the launching of JeM terrorists into India. He is also involved in planning, facilitation and execution of terror attacks in India.

Syed Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahudeen, Peer Sahab and Buzurg, is the supreme commander of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) and the chairman of the United Jihad Council (UJC). He was involved in fundraising and routing finances to India for the furtherance of terrorist activities by the HM cadres.

Ghulam Nabi Khan, also known as Amir Khan, Saifullah Khalid, Khalid Saifullah, Jawaad and Daand, is the deputy supreme of the Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM).

Zaffar Hussain Bhat, also known as Khursheed, Mohd Zafar Khan, Moulvi and Khursheed Ibrahim, is the deputy chief of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and also handles financial affairs of the terrorist organisation. He was responsible for sending funds for the HM operatives in Kashmir Valley.

Riyaz Ismail Shahbandri, also known as Shah Riyaz Ahmed, Riyaz Bhatkal, Mohd Riyaz, Ahmed Bhai, Rasool Khan, Roshan Khan and Aziz, is the founder member of terrorist organisation Indian Mujahideen. He was involved in various terrorist acts in India, including German Bakery (2010), Chinnaswami Stadium, Bangalore (2010), Jama Masjid (2010), Sheetlaghat (2010) and Mumbai (2011).

Mohd Iqbal, also known as Shabandri Mohammed Iqbal and Iqbal Bhatkal, is the Pakistan based co-founder of the terrorist organisation Indian Mujahideen. He was involved in terror financing and various terrorist acts, including Jaipur serial blasts (2008), Delhi serial blasts (2008), serial blasts of Ahmedabad and Surat (2008), German bakery blast, Pune (2010) and Chinnaswami Stadium, Bengaluru blasts (2010).

Shaikh Shakeel, also known as Chhota Shakeel, is the associate of Dawood Ibrahim and looks after all criminal and underworld operations of the D-Company. He also handles the finances of the D-Company operatives of India. He was involved in the smuggling of firearms to Gujarat during 1993.

Mohammad Anis Shaikh was involved in the Bombay bomb blast 1993 and is also responsible for the supply of arms, ammunition and hand grenades.

Ibrahim Memon, also known as Tiger Memon, Mushtaq, Sikander, Ibrahim Abdul Razak Memon, Mustafa and Ismail, hatched the criminal conspiracy of the Bombay bomb blast.

Javed Chikna, also known as Javed Dawood Tailor, is the associate of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and was involved in the Bombay bomb blast of 1993.





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‘Next time it could be terrorists,’ Royal Navy officer’s warns after Isle of Wight stowaway incident


A ‘hijacked’ tanker docked in Southampton this morning after being seized by special forces commandos after violence erupted when the crew tried to lock seven stowaways in a cabin and threatened to report them. 

The captain of Nave Andromeda made a panicked mayday call at around 10.30am yesterday saying ‘I’m trying to keep them calm but please send help’ after confronting the Nigerian men as his ship sailed by the Isle of Wight. 

He ordered the 22 crew members into the ship’s citadel, an emergency room used during pirate attacks, and ‘clearly feared for their lives’ after the stowaways smashed glass and made threats to kill, according to a source.

A ten-hour standoff ensued before 16 Special Boat Service commandos, backed by airborne snipers, stormed the tanker from blacked-out Merlin helicopters and fast attack boats before using ‘overwhelming force’ to regain control in just nine minutes.

A frigate, believed to be HMS Richmond, was also on standby but not needed during the operation, while the stowaways were handed to Hampshire Police. Officials have not yet revealed if they were armed. 

The Nave Andromeda, which is believed to have had 42,000 tons of crude oil on board, docked at Southampton early this morning. None of the 22 crew were harmed. 

There have been reports the tanker had been hijacked, but lawyers representing the owners of the vessel, which had sailed from Lagos, told the BBC the incident was ‘100 per cent not a hijacking’. 

But former Royal Navy Rear Admiral Dr Chris Parry said the incident was a warning to the British authorities, saying: ‘Next time they could be terrorists’. 

Scroll down for video.  

The Nave Andromeda oil tanker docked next to the Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Terminal in Southampton, where it is seen today

A crew member is seen on the deck of the oil tanker Nave Andromeda after it was moored at the cruise terminal at Southampton this morning

A crew member is seen on the deck of the oil tanker Nave Andromeda after it was moored at the cruise terminal at Southampton this morning

The Special Boat Service (SBS) raided the tanker yesterday evening off the Isle of Wight after stowaways were found on board who threatened the crew. Pictured is an official on the boat today

The Special Boat Service (SBS) raided the tanker yesterday evening off the Isle of Wight after stowaways were found on board who threatened the crew. Pictured is an official on the boat today

Rear Admiral Dr Chris Parry told Good Morning Britain today: ‘Next time it may not be just stowaways. It could be terrorists, it could be people smugglers or anything.

‘We’ve got to approach this problem in a much more sophisticated way, we’ve got to up our intelligence.

‘We’ve got to demand more from shipping companies and also from foreign countries with whom we do business. 

‘We’re into a whole era now of mass migration and I think that covers a lot of things that we probably won’t want to happen in our vicinity or in our country.’ 

Hampshire Police said the force was alerted to concerns over the welfare of the crew of the 228-metre long Nave Andromeda soon after 10am on Sunday as the ship headed towards Southampton, having set sail from Lagos in Nigeria.

Four military helicopters – thought to have included two Merlin Mk 4s, a Wildcat and a Chinook – took 40 personnel to the scene of the suspected hijack aboard the Nave Andromeda and about 16 members of the SBS boarded the vessel. 

Richard Meade, of the Lloyd’s List Intelligence maritime service, said he had been told by sources close to the ship’s owners that the crew had tried to detain the stowaways in a cabin.

He said: ‘Seven stowaways were discovered on board the vessel. The crew tried to detain them in a cabin, but the stowaways did not want to be locked away in a cabin and became violent and that raised the security alarm.

‘The assumption the flagged [state] is working on is that these stowaways came from Nigeria, where the destination started for this ship on October 6, and the assumption is they boarded through the rudder trunk of the vessel and have been hiding on the vessel ever since.’

Mr Meade said the crew had been in contact with officials in Liberia, where the ship was registered, suggesting they were still in control of the ship throughout.

He said: ‘I have this information from the Liberian ship register so if the crew and the skipper have communicated this level of detail…that suggests that they were in a position to be in communication and therefore in control.’

He said the working assumption was that the stowaways boarded the 228-metre long, 32-metre wide ship in Lagos, where it had set off from on October 6, and that they were Nigerian.  

A source close to the shipping company said that crew had been aware of stowaways on board for some time, but that they had turned violent when the crew tried to lock them in the cabin as the vessel approached Britain. 

The crew then retreated to the ship’s secure citadel, where attackers are unable to enter, the source added. 

Stowaways on board Nave Andromeda made ‘verbal threats towards crew’ but no-one has been reported injured, according to Hampshire Police.

Two coastguard helicopters were scrambled to the scene and were spotted circling the ship on Sunday afternoon, while an exclusion zone of five nautical miles was set up in the area south of Sandown. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘Tonight we are thankful for the quick and decisive action of our police and armed forces who were able to bring this situation under control, guaranteeing the safety of all those on board.’ 

Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping, said: ‘I think this has got all the hallmarks of a situation where a number of stowaways are seeking political asylum, presumably in the UK.

‘At some stage they got aggressive.

‘Clearly no one knew at the time how aggressive they were, whether they were armed or not, what their motives were, because there will have been confusion at that stage.

‘In the discussions taking place between the ship’s captain and the authorities in the UK – both police and the military – they will have decided at some stage the least risky option was to board the vessel using the special forces as it turned out in the end.’

The SBS is the elite maritime counter-terrorism unit of the Royal Navy, with most of its personnel Royal Marine Commandos, whose operations are highly classified and not officially confirmed. 

Crew members reportedly sought shelter in a safe room on the Liberian-registered oil tanker, named the Nave Andromeda, which was due to arrive at Southampton at 10.30am

Crew members reportedly sought shelter in a safe room on the Liberian-registered oil tanker, named the Nave Andromeda, which was due to arrive at Southampton at 10.30am

The vessel was due to be heading to Southampton

A more zoomed in version shows how the ship has made a number of zig-zag movements

The vessel was due to be heading to Southampton this morning (pictured left). A more zoomed in version (right) shows how the ship made a number of zig-zag movements

The Nave Andromeda is a crude oil tanker which carries the Liberian flag

The tanker was seen taking a ziz-zag type path near to the Isle of Wight today

The Nave Andromeda is a crude oil tanker which carries the Liberian flag. The tanker was seen taking a ziz-zag type path near to the Isle of Wight today

Dr Chris Parry warned the world was seeing 'more and more of these incidents,' which was the second to happen in Britain since 2018

Dr Chris Parry warned the world was seeing ‘more and more of these incidents,’ which was the second to happen in Britain since 2018

Maritime Risk Expert Christopher Parry told Sky News: ‘This sort of thing is the sort of thing the SBS trained to do. Ever since we had oil rigs in the North Sea this sort of operation has been the bread and butter to the Special Boat Service and specialist commandos.

‘We want to send out a message – don’t mess with us. Don’t try and come into our maritime zone and expect to stowaway, or indeed come in for any other reason, you will be met with appropriate force if necessary.’

A source on the Isle of Wight claimed during a mayday call this morning the captain told an operator ‘I’m trying to keep them calm but please send help.’

The source said: ‘The captain clearly stated he feared for their lives and needed urgent assistance, they needed rescuing… It was desperation, you could hear the fear in his voice.’ 

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘In response to a police request, the Defence Secretary and Home Secretary authorised Armed Forces personnel to board a ship in the English Channel to safeguard life and secure a ship that was subject to suspected hijacking.

‘Armed forces have gained control of the ship and seven individuals have been detained. Police investigations will now continue. Initial reports confirm the crew are safe and well.’    

A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘At 10.04am today (25 October) concerns were raised to police for the welfare of crew on board the vessel, which was situated approximately six miles off the coast of Bembridge.

‘The vessel had been travelling in the direction of Southampton, having sailed from Lagos in Nigeria. It was reported that a number of stowaways were on board, and they had made threats towards the crew.

‘Following a multi-agency response by police, with support from the military and other emergency service partners, seven people were detained by police. All 22 crew members are safe and well.

‘Police are investigating this incident and we have a number of enquiries to carry out to establish the full circumstances.’

It was originally suggested that the tanker had been hijacked, but lawyers representing the owners of the vessel, which had come from Nigeria, today told the BBC the incident was '100 per cent not a hijacking' (pictured: The stern of the oil tanker Nave Andromeda lit up by police boats as the SBS stormed the tanker yesterday evening)

It was originally suggested that the tanker had been hijacked, but lawyers representing the owners of the vessel, which had come from Nigeria, today told the BBC the incident was ‘100 per cent not a hijacking’ (pictured: The stern of the oil tanker Nave Andromeda lit up by police boats as the SBS stormed the tanker yesterday evening) 

A police officer observes Nave Andromeda, after it anchored off the east coast of the island

A police officer observes Nave Andromeda, after it anchored off the east coast of the island

The incident comes after an incident in which a group of stowaway ran amok on a cargo ship in the Thames Estuary in December 2018.

The men, from Nigeria and Liberia, waved metal poles and threw faeces and urine after being found hiding on the vessel, which was bound for Tilbury docks in Essex. 

The group demanded to be dropped off in Britain. They were arrested and jailed in January for affray offences following a trial at the Old Bailey in January. 

Today’s incident is near to the location where the 52,000 ton cargo ship the Hoegh Osaka was deliberately grounded to prevent it from capsizing after it began listing as it left port.

The vessel, which was carrying 1,400 cars, including Rolls Royces and Bentleys, became grounded on Bramble Bank in the Solent in January 2015, forcing emergency services to rescue all 25 crew members on board. 

UK Shipping CEO Bob Sanguinetti said the stowaways are likely to have boarded the ship before it departed Nigeria but it is not yet known when they were discovered by the crew.

‘It might have been entirely friendly for a number of days with the crew looking after the stowaways,’ he said.

‘But clearly, as the ship got closer to the UK, the stowaways got a bit more agitated and aggressive and that’s when the captain would’ve felt the crew of the ship were being threatened.’

He added: ‘I think what’s heartening from all of this is that the UK has sent a very, very clear message that ships and seafarers will not be allowed to get caught up in crises of asylum seekers or economic migrants.’ 

The Nave Andromeda was built in 2011 and weighs 42,338 tonnes. It was last known to be docked in Lagos, Nigeria on October 6. Though the ship is registered in Liberia, it is understood the ship is Greek-owned (pictured: The ship off the Isle of Wight coast)

The Nave Andromeda was built in 2011 and weighs 42,338 tonnes. It was last known to be docked in Lagos, Nigeria on October 6. Though the ship is registered in Liberia, it is understood the ship is Greek-owned (pictured: The ship off the Isle of Wight coast) 



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Big Story Jammu and Kashmir

“Bihar May Become Safe Haven For Terrorists If Opposition Wins”: Minister


The Union minister of state for home made the controversial remark at a rally. (FILE)

Patna:

 A political storm has erupted in poll-bound Bihar after Union minister Nityanand Rai told an election rally that the state would become a safe haven for terrorists from Kashmir if the opposition RJD-led coalition succeeded in forming the next government.

The Congress, a constituent of the Grand Alliance, hit back claiming that the BJP has the habit of dragging Pakistan and Kashmir into the scenario whenever it faces a tough challenge in Bihar polls. The RJD asserted that it is a ploy of the saffron party to divert public attention from the “misrule” of the NDA.

“Terrorists from Kashmir might start looking at Bihar as a safe haven (in the event of an opposition victory). But we must not let that happen,” Mr Rai, a former president of the BJP’s state unit, can be heard as having said in video footage, evoking applause from the crowd.

The Union minister of state for home made the controversial remark at a rally held in Mahnar Assembly segment in Vaishali district a couple of days ago. The matter came to light after news channels beamed the footage.

AICC media panellist and Bihar MLC Prem Chandra Mishra hit back at Mr Rai.

“In 2015, Amit Shah had said during Assembly elections that crackers will be burst in Pakistan if the Grand Alliance won. Now his junior minister Nityanand Rai has come out with an equally bizarre statement,” he said.

“It is not a coincidence that whenever the BJP is faced with an insurmountable challenge in a Bihar election, it drags Pakistan and Kashmir into the electoral discourse. But the voters of Bihar are mature. They can see through the game,” Mr Mishra said.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, the Grand Alliance’s chief ministerial candidate, sought to make light of the remarks made by Rai touted as the BJP’s Yadav face in a state where the sizeable community has by and large remained with the party founded and headed by Lalu Prasad.

“This is just an attempt to divert public attention from the fact that in its 15 years of rule in Bihar, the NDA has unleashed the terror of unemployment, poverty and starvation on the hapless people of the state,” Mr Yadav told reporters at his Assembly constituency Raghopur also in Vaishali where he had gone to file nomination papers.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U), which was in the Grand Alliance five years ago but is now back in the NDA, defended Rai.

”The Union minister has not said anything objectionable or out of context. Bihar has been rocked by terror strikes like the Gandhi Maidan blasts. A terrorist like Yasin Bhatkal was caught on its soil. The Darbhanga module was well known to security agencies.

“If law and order deteriorates in the state, as was the case when the RJD was in power, the possibility of what Rai has spoken about cannot be ruled out,” JD(U) leader Ajay Alok said.

Meanwhile, Mr Rai remained unfazed by the controversy and continued with his hard line while maintaining his cheerful countenance.

On Wednesday, he was in Hajipur, the district headquarters of Vaishali, where he addressed a rally and came down heavily on former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah for seeking revival of the Article 370 of the Constitution.

On August 5 last year, the government revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

“Farooq Abdullah has said he will seek China’s support to bring back Article 370. Let it be known to him, no matter how hard he tries, 130 crore Indians will not allow any assault on national integrity,” Mr Rai told the gathering.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Two Terrorists Killed In Jammu And Kashmir’s Shopian, Operation Still On


The encounter began last evening in Shopian district. (File)

Srinagar:

Two terrorists have been shot dead in an encounter in a village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district. 

The security forces launched the operation last evening in the Sugan village of the district. According to police, the terrorists – once they were holed up – were asked to surrender; however, they refused. 

In a tweet, the Kashmir Zone Police said the terrorists have not yet been identified. 

The search operation is still on. 

Last night, a terrorist was shot dead and one personal security officer was killed in the line of duty after a BJP worker was targeted in Ganderbal district’s Nunar. 

“#Terrorist fired upon one BJP worker at Nunar #Ganderbal. He is safe, however, his one PSO was injured in this incident. One unidentified #terrorist got #killed in PSOs retaliation. @JmuKmrPolice (sic),” a tweet by the Kashmir Zone Police read. 

On Monday, two CRPF soldiers were killed in the line of duty and three others were injured after terrorists fired upon a joint road operations team on the outskirts of Srinagar. 

The terrorists attacked when the CRPF troops, along with Jammu and Kashmir Police, were carrying out road opening operations at Pampore bypass at around 12:50 pm. 

This was the fourth such attack on the highway, usually heavily guarded, in the last few weeks. 





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Lashkar Terrorists Behind Attack On CRPF In Srinagar Identified: Police


Lashkar terrorists had attacked a road-opening party in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday

Srinagar:

The Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorists behind Monday’s attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) road-opening party in Jammu and Kashmir have been identified, a senior police officer said today. The terror attack in the Union Territory’s Nowgam area on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway on Monday had killed two CRPF personnel and injured three.

“We have identified the terrorists behind the attack. They are from the Lashkar, led by a Pakistani terrorist named Saifullah. We are on the job and they will be neutralised soon,” Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Zone Vijay Kumar said.

He was speaking to reporters after the wreath-laying ceremony of the two CRPF jawans, who were killed in the attack.

“Two terrorists came on a scooter, most probably from the Pampore side, and opened indiscriminate firing from an AK rifle,” the IGP said.

He admitted that the module of the Pakistan-based terror outfit had carried out an attack earlier in the Chadoora area of the Budgam district as well, in which an assistant sub-inspector of the CRPF was killed.

“We are conducting operations and soon, they will be neutralised,” the officer said.

Responding to a question on terrorists using two-wheelers to carry out the attacks, Vijay Kumar said it is easy for them to move around on motorbikes on roads where the vehicle movement is heavy.

“We cannot check every vehicle. Vehicles are checked based on information mostly. Checking every vehicle will cause traffic jams,” he said.

The IGP sought to assure people, saying there is no need to panic and “the situation is under control”.

On the use of virtual phone numbers by terrorists, he said this technology is a cause for concern but it has been used for subversive activities for years now.

“Virtual numbers have remained challenging since the beginning. It is challenging across the world. We are trying to find technological answers,” Mr Kumar said.



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Russia accuses Turkey of sending terrorists into Nagorno-Karabakh


Russia has accused Turkey of sending ‘terrorists’ from Syria and Libya into the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where fierce fighting has raged for the past four days between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces.

Russia’s foreign ministry said today that Syrian and Libyan fighters from illegal armed groups were being sent to the region. 

Russia called on the countries involved to prevent the use of ‘foreign terrorists and mercenaries’ in the conflict.

Two Syrian rebel sources have said that Turkey is sending Syrian rebel fighters to support Azerbaijan, which Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied. 

Earlier today, Armenia revealed photos of the wreckage of its SU-25 fighter jet which it claims was shot down by a Turkish  F-16 amid accusations that Ankara is throwing its military might behind Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan today announced it had ‘neutralised’ 2,300 Armenian soldiers as fighting entered a fourth day in the worst eruption of violence between the two countries since a 1994 ceasefire over an Azerbaijani territory which is largely inhabited by Armenians.

Despite Azerbaijan and Turkey denying that an F-16 had downed Armenia’s SU-25, the defence ministry in Yerevan named its dead pilot as Major Valeri Danelin and published photos of the jet painted in the Armenian Air Force colours, smouldering on a mountainside.

Turkey has been stridently backing Muslim Azerbaijan, raising fears that Russia – which has a military base in Christian Armenia – could be drawn into a proxy war after Moscow and Anakara came close to trading blows in Syria last year. 

French President Emmanuel Macron today slammed Turkey’s fighting talk as ‘reckless and dangerous’ after Ankara pledged its full support for Azerbaijan to reclaim the ethnically-Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

The Kremlin, which also wields influence over the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, has called on the hostilities to be ‘immediately ended’ and warned Turkey not to ‘add fuel to the flames.’  

Azerbaijan said today it has killed or wounded at least 2,300 Armenian troops so far in the battle which started on Sunday.

The defence ministry, which has been tweeting numerous videos of its strikes, said it had destroyed 130 tanks and armoured vehicles, 200 artillery and missile systems and 50 anti-tank guns.  

Armenia has revealed photos of the wreckage of its SU-25 fighter jet which it claims was shot down by a Turkish F-16 over the the Caucasus Mountains

Armenia has revealed photos of the wreckage of its SU-25 fighter jet which it claims was shot down by a Turkish F-16 over the the Caucasus Mountains

The colours of the Armenian flag painted in a roundel on the plane's fuselage

Identification markings on the fuselage

The colours of the Armenian flag painted in a roundel on the plane’s fuselage, left, and identification markings, right

Turkey denies that one of its F-16 fighter jets was involved in a dog fight, but Armenia has named Major Valeri Danelin as their dead pilot

Turkey denies that one of its F-16 fighter jets was involved in a dog fight, but Armenia has named Major Valeri Danelin as their dead pilot

Turkey denies that one of its F-16 fighter jets was involved in a dog fight, but Armenia has named Major Valeri Danelin as their dead pilot (pictured: the wreckage on the mountainside)

Crossroads between the Middle East and Russia: The fighting is in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh of Azerbaijan which is controlled by separatists allied to Armenia. Turkey borders Armenia but is an ally of Azerbaijan, and Ankara's support for Baku is the latest military adventure in the region after incursions into Syria and Libya. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan are former Soviet republics that border Iran. Moscow has called for both sides to stop the fighting

Crossroads between the Middle East and Russia: The fighting is in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh of Azerbaijan which is controlled by separatists allied to Armenia. Turkey borders Armenia but is an ally of Azerbaijan, and Ankara’s support for Baku is the latest military adventure in the region after incursions into Syria and Libya. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan are former Soviet republics that border Iran. Moscow has called for both sides to stop the fighting

Footage released by Azerbaijan's military showed two tanks being blown up during the latest fighting in Armenia

Footage released by Azerbaijan’s military showed two tanks being blown up during the latest fighting in Armenia 

Macron on Wednesday pledged his support to Yerevan, telling reporters: ‘I say to Armenia and to the Armenians, France will play its role.

Why Armenia and Azerbaijan are fighting

WHAT AND WHERE IS NAGORNO-KARABAKH?

Karabakh is a region within Azerbaijan which has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since a full-scale separatist war ended in 1994, after killing about 30,000 people and displacing an estimated one million.

Nagorno-Karabakh is about 1,700 square miles in size, but Armenian forces also occupy other nearby territory.  

HOW DID THE CONFLICT START?

Long-simmering tensions between Christian Armenians and mostly Muslim Azerbaijanis began boiling over as the Soviet Union frayed in its final years. Once the USSR collapsed in 1991 and the republics became independent nations, war broke out.

A 1994 cease-fire left Armenian and Azerbaijani forces facing each other across a demilitarised zone, where clashes were frequently reported. 

WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE?

International mediation efforts have brought little visible progress. The conflict has been an economic blow to the Caucasus region because it has hampered trade and prompted Turkey to close its border with Armenia.

Fighting periodically breaks out around Nagorno-Karabakh’s borders, often deadly, notably in 2016 and this July. Since new fighting erupted on Sunday, dozens have been killed and wounded in apparent shelling by both sides. Each country blamed the other. 

WHAT´S THE BROADER IMPACT?

In addition to causing local casualties and damage, the conflict in the small, hard-to-reach region is also of concern to major regional players.

Russia is Armenia´s main economic partner and has a military base there, while Turkey has offered support to Azerbaijanis, fellow Muslims and ethnic brethren to Turks. Iran neighbors both Armenia and Azerbaijan and is calling for calm.

Meanwhile, the United States, France and Russia are meant to be guarantors of the long-stalled peace process, under the auspices of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

But the French president also said it was too soon to speak of a regional conflict.

He said he would discuss the tensions with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday evening and US President Donald Trump on Thursday before reporting on the situation to the European Council of EU leaders. 

Ethnic-Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh are fighting for secession from Turkish-backed Azerbaijan and the dispute has led to decades of unresolved violence.  

Erdogan’s aide Fahrettin Altun has said that Turkey ‘stands with Azerbaijan, our friend and brethren’ despite UN condemnation for the violence. 

‘Let there be no doubt that the world will hear our roar if Azerbaijan were to suffer from the slightest injustice under international law,’ he said on Tuesday.

Azerbaijan also aired footage of two Armenian tanks being blown up on the battlefield, while Armenia claimed to have taken out 80 armoured vehicles, 49 drones and four helicopters in the latest fighting which has killed dozens of people, allegedly including civilians.

However, Altun dismissed the F-16 claim as ‘absolutely untrue’ while Azerbaijan described it as ‘yet another lie of Armenian propaganda’. ‘Armenia should withdraw from the territories under its occupation instead of resorting to cheap propaganda tricks,’ Altun said.  

Russian-backed Armenia warned that it would deploy more destructive weapons in the conflict because of what it described as an Azerbaijani offensive, saying the fighting had been ‘elevated to a new level’. 

Armenia last night accused Turkey of ‘supporting Azerbaijan to carry out genocidal acts’, a reference to the early 20th-century massacre which it calls the Armenian Genocide and which still poisons relations between Turkey and Armenia. 

Both nations have accused each other of firing into each other’s territory beyond the Karabakh region, raising fears of an all-out war which could draw in nuclear-armed Russia.  

The Kremlin has a military base in Armenia but has called for the hostilities to be ‘immediately ended’ – warning Turkey not to ‘add fuel to the flames’ by raising the prospect of intervention. 

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that ‘both sides need to stop the violence’ while German chancellor Angela Merkel called for an ‘immediate ceasefire’ and France called for a revival of peace talks.

Martial law has been declared in both countries and Armenia has banned men over 18 in its military reserves from leaving the country as the warfare continues despite global appeals for calm. 

Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said today that the opposing forces attempted to recover lost ground by launching counter-attacks in the directions of Fizuli, Jabrayil, Agdere and Terter. 

The ministry said there was fighting around Fizuli on Tueday morning and the Armenian army shelled the Dashkesan region on the border between the two countries, miles away from Nagorno-Karabakh. 

Armenia denied those claims, but reported fighting throughout the night and said that Nagorno-Karabakh’s army repelled attacks in several directions along the line of contact. 

Footage released by Armenia's military purported to show a drone being shot down

Armenian footage allegedly showing the remains of a helicopter bursting into flames on the battlefield

Footage released by Armenia’s military purported to show a drone being shot down (left) and the remains of a helicopter bursting into flames on the battlefield (right)

Both sides blame each other for causing the latest flare-up, with Armenia claiming that the separatists in Nagorny-Karabakh are resisting a ‘thoroughly planned attack’. 

‘Defence forces of Nagorno-Karabakh are left with little option but to defend themselves,’ Armenia’s foreign ministry claimed.  

Military leaders in the Armenian enclave say that 84 servicemen on their side have been killed so far, while both sides blame the other for alleged civilian deaths. 

Azerbaijan says 10 civilians have died on its side, but has yet to give details on military casualties. 

Armenia claimed on Tuesday that a nine-year-old girl was killed in shelling, while her mother and a brother were wounded, while Azerbaijan says five members of a family died in the gunfire.  

Armenia’s defence ministry said a civilian bus was set on fire after being hit by an Azerbaijani unmanned drone. 

Armenia accuses its enemy of using Smerch and TOS-1A rocket launchers, saying it was forced to use ‘military hardware with larger power’ in response.    

‘Since early morning the Azerbaijani side resumed large-scale offensive ops. TOS-1A heavy flamethrowers are being employed. The use of TOS, Smerch and other large-caliber systems changes the philosophy and the scale of mil ops, elevating them to a new level of escalation,’ claimed defence spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan. 

As a result, Armenian forces are ‘compelled to use pieces of equipment and munitions designed to engage wide area targets, intended for large and indiscriminate destruction of manpower, and static and mobile property alike,’ she warned. 

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan came down firmly on the side of Azerbaijan, which shares ethnic, cultural and linguistic ties with the larger power. 

‘The time has come for the crisis in the region that started with the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh to be put to an end,’ Erdogan said. ‘Now Azerbaijan must take matters into its own hands.’ 

Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev on Monday ordered partial military mobilisation and General Mais Barkhudarov vowed to ‘fight to the last drop of blood in order to completely destroy the enemy and win’. 

Armenia has accused Turkey of sending mercenaries to back Azerbaijan, a claim which Erdogan’s government denies. 

Turkey informed the fighters they would be tasked with ‘guarding border regions’ in Azerbaijan in return for wages of up to $2,000, said Rami Abdul Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Anna Naghdalyan, a spokeswoman for Armenia’s foreign ministry, said people in Nagorno-Karabakh were ‘fighting against a Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance’. 

‘Turkey, which a century ago annihilated Armenian people in their historical homeland and justifies that crime, now supports Azerbaijan by all possible means to carry out same genocidal acts in South Caucasus,’ she said. 

As many as 1.5million Armenians were rounded up and killed by their Turkish rulers in mass killings which started during World War I, but Turkey fiercely disputes the term ‘genocide’. 

Armenian positions are hit by Azerbaijani forces as they claimed to be taking control of highlands around the village of Talis

Armenian positions are hit by Azerbaijani forces as they claimed to be taking control of highlands around the village of Talis 

Azerbaijan's soldiers fire from a mortar at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan’s soldiers fire from a mortar at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh 

An Azerbaijani artillery strike towards the positions of Armenian separatists in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh

An Azerbaijani artillery strike towards the positions of Armenian separatists in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh

How the military forces compare 

AZERBAIJAN 

82,000 armed forces personnel

570 tanks including T-55, T-90 and modified T-72 upgraded by Israel 

29 combat aircraft (five MiG-21, 12 MiG-29 and 12 Su-25 planes)  

ARMENIA

49,000 armed forces personnel 

110 tanks including T-80, T-72, T-55 and BMP models 

13 combat aircraft (nine Su-25 and four Su-30 planes)   

TURKEY

510,000 armed forces personnel  

3,000 tanks including 339 German-made Leopard 2A4s and 1,200 American M60 tanks 

206 combat aircraft (48 F4 jets and 158 F-16 jets) 

RUSSIA

1.45million armed forces personnel  

12,950 tanks including Soviet-era T-72 and T-80, Russian-era T-14 Armata and T-90 models 

1,616 combat aircraft including MiG, Sukhoi and Tupolev models 

7,000 nuclear warheads with land, air and sea-based launchers    

Turkey has also conducted drills with F-16 jets in Azerbaijan, but Baku denied claims that it has any of the fighter planes or that one been involved in a shootdown.

Russia has previously supplied Armenia with weapons in the sensitive region, where pipelines shipping Caspian oil and natural gas from Azerbaijan to the world pass close to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday urged the opposing sides in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to hold their fire, during a conversation with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Putin emphasised the urgent need for a ceasefire and for all sides to take measures to de-escalate the crisis, the Kremlin said. 

Azerbaijani state energy company SOCAR said yesterday that the country’s oil and gas infrastructure was safe thanks to measures taken by the army.  

The report of Turkish intervention comes after the European Union warned regional powers not to interfere in the fighting and condemned a ‘serious escalation’ that threatens regional stability. 

Omer Celika , spokesman for Erdogan’s ruling party, denied reports that Turkey had sent arms or foreign fighters to Azerbaijan.

‘Armenia is disturbed by Turkey’s solidarity with Azerbaijan and is producing lies against Turkey,’ Celik said. 

Erdogan criticized France, the US and Russia – the three chairs of the so-called Minsk group that was set up in 1992 to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – saying they had failed to resolve the issue for 30 years.

‘They have done their best not to solve this issue. And now they come and counsel and issue threats. They say, is Turkey here, is the Turkish military here?,’ Erdogan said. 

France said yesterday it would ‘trigger a co-ordination of the Minsk Group’ in the coming days to ‘find a way out’ of the crisis.  

Armenia and Karabakh declared martial law and military mobilisation on Sunday, while Azerbaijan imposed military rule and a curfew in large cities. 

Analysts warn that the conflict could escalate into a proxy conflict between Moscow and Ankara, who both wield influence in Syria and Libya already. 

Michael Carpenter, a former Pentagon official, said any Turkish involvement would be ‘hugely destabilising’ and ‘could lead to a proxy war between Turkey and Russia’. 

Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence monitoring group, said the two countries ‘continue to vie for control across region, backing proxies on contentious non-secular lines’ – referring to the fact that Azerbaijan is a majority-Muslim country, while most Armenians are Christians. 

In addition to the EU and Russia, France, Germany, Italy and the United States have urged a ceasefire.  

President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the United States would seek to end the violence. ‘We’re looking at it very strongly,’ he told a news briefing. ‘We have a lot of good relationships in that area. We’ll see if we can stop it.’ 

Democratic nominee Joe Biden urged the White House to push for more observers along the ceasefire line and accused Russia of ‘cynically providing arms to both sides.’  

Erdogan last night discussed the crisis in a phone call with British PM Boris Johnson, with Downing Street calling for ‘urgent de-escalation in the region’. 

German chancellor Angela Merkel – who has clashed with Erdogan in the past – has called for an ‘immediate ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table’ after speaking with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Azerbaijan's rocket launches from missile system at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan’s rocket launches from missile system at the contact line of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh

Five European countries – Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany and Britain – asked for a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council on the escalating conflict on Tuesday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke to both countries’ leaders and called for ‘an immediate stop to the fighting, a de-escalation of tensions and a return to meaningful negotiations without preconditions or delay. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the situation ‘is a cause for concern for Moscow and other countries.’

‘We believe that the hostilities should be immediately ended,’ Peskov said, adding that the process of resolving the conflict should shift into ‘a politico-diplomatic’ dimension. 

Nuclear-armed Russia has a military base in Armenia and considers it to be a strategic partner in the South Caucasus region, supplying the ex-Soviet country with weapons. 

The Kremlin has cast itself as a mediator but Azerbaijan claimed last month that Moscow was ‘intensively arming Armenia’ after earlier clashes in July.  

Hostilities this year have been the worst since 2016, when intense fighting killed dozens and threatened to escalate into all-out war. 

Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in a conflict that broke out as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Although a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, after thousands of people were killed and many more displaced, Azerbaijan and Armenia frequently accuse each other of attacks around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the separate Azeri-Armenian frontier. 

During the worst recent Karabakh clashes in April 2016, around 110 people were killed. 

In July 2020, heavy clashes along the two countries’ shared border – hundreds of miles from Karabakh – claimed the lives of at least 17 soldiers from both sides. 



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Big Story World

China helping terrorist groups, Myanmar seeks help from world

Myanmar, China’s closest ally in Southeast Asia, has pointed fingers at Beijing for providing arms to terrorist and rebel groups. In addition, Myanmar has sought international cooperation to suppress terrorist groups. In a recent interview with Russia-run TV channel Zvezda, Myanmar senior general Min Aung Hling said that terrorist organizations operating in Myanmar have the support of ‘strong forces’ and we seek the help of other countries to eliminate them.

The reference to ‘strong forces’ is being seen as Myanmar’s neighboring China. Myanmar military spokesman Brigadier General Joo Min Tun later elaborated the remarks made by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Myanmar. The spokesman said the army chief was referring to the Arakan Army (AA) and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which are active terrorist organizations in Rakhine State in western Myanmar.

On the use of China-made weapons used in the mine attack on the army in 2019, he said that the ‘foreign country’ is behind the Arakan army. It is unusual for the Myanmar leadership to point a finger at China.

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When the Myanmar army uncovered a large amount of weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, from the banned National Liberation Army in November 2019, each costing between 70,000 and 90,000 US dollars, they made connections to these weapons. Told with China. 

Army spokesman Major General Tun Ny said that most of the weapons seized were ‘Chinese weapons’. However, China has officially denied that it supplies arms to terrorist groups in Myanmar, but such denials have often been suspected in Myanmar.

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Big Story India

Pak fired without provocation, in response destroyed arms depot and launching pad of terrorists

Indian jawans targeted Pak posts, Pakistan fired on civilian targets

new Delhi: 

The Pak Army started firing from 11 am without any provocation in the Keran and Machhal sectors of Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir. When Pakistan first used small arms and mortar, the army responded strongly to it. Later, panicked, Pakistan started firing from the cannon targeting civilian targets. In retaliation, the army also fired accurately with its 105 mm field gun and Bofors gun, completely destroying the Pak Army weapons depot as well as the launching pads of the terrorists. 

It is the area from the south of Ashwakam in Pakistan to the Neelum Valley. The special thing is that most of the army was firing from the Pakistani border from the side, Indian soldiers fired shells targeting their posts. On the contrary, Pakistan made civilian targets as its target instead of army posts. 

According to information received from the army, the Pak army and the terrorists have suffered a lot in the army’s action. The Indian Army has destroyed many of its bunkers. At present, there was no official confirmation of how many Pak army personnel and how many terrorists were killed. But the aerial footage obtained from the army shows that Pakistan’s arms depot has been completely destroyed

Due to the action of the Pak Army, the residential accommodation of the people living near the LoC has been damaged but the army has not suffered any damage. However, the troops deployed in defense of the Indian borders gave a befitting reply to this impudence of Pakistan, as a result Pakistan stopped the shelling after two and a half. It is worth mentioning that on April 5 in the Keran sector, the army had killed five intruders and five of our soldiers were martyred.