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Van rams worshippers leaving London mosque, killing at least one

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(Last Updated On: June 19, 2017)

A van ploughed into worshippers leaving a London mosque on Monday, killing at least one person and injuring several in what Britain’s largest Muslim organization said was a deliberate act of Islamophobia.

The Muslim Council of Britain said the vehicle hit people as they were leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque, one of the biggest in the country. The attack comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when people attend prayers at night.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said police had confirmed it was being treated as a potential terrorist attack and said she would chair an emergency response meeting later on Monday.

Police said one man was pronounced dead at the scene and that the van driver, 48, had been detained by members of the public before being arrested. The driver would undergo a mental health assessment in due course, police said.

The London Ambulance Service said it had taken eight people to hospital, while two were treated at the scene.

Prime Minister May said her thoughts were with those injured in “this terrible incident”. The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said he was “totally shocked”.

The Muslim Council said the incident was the most violent manifestation of Islamophobia in Britain in recent months and called for extra security at places of worship as the end of Ramadan nears.

“It appears that a white man in a van intentionally ploughed into a group of worshippers who were already tending to someone who had been taken ill,” the council said in a statement.

Police said they were called just after 12:20 a.m. (2320 GMT Sunday) to reports of a collision on Seven Sisters Road, which runs through the Finsbury Park area of north London.

“From the window, I started hearing a lot of yelling and screeching, a lot of chaos outside. … Everybody was shouting: ‘A van’s hit people, a van’s hit people’,” one woman who lives opposite the scene told the BBC.

“There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park mosque that seemed to have hit people who were coming out after prayers had finished.”

The incident comes just over two weeks after three Islamist militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars, killing eight..

It also comes at a time of political turmoil, as Prime Minister May plunges into divorce talks with the European Union weakened by the loss of her parliamentary majority in a June 8 election.

She has faced heavy criticism for her response to a fire in a London tower block on Wednesday which killed at least 58 people, and for her record on security after a series of attacks blamed on Islamist militants in recent months.

One witness told CNN it was clear that the attacker at Finsbury Park had deliberately targeted Muslims.

“He tried to kill a lot of people so obviously it’s a terrorist attack. He targeted Muslims this time,” the witness, identified only as Rayan, said.

Other witnesses told Sky television that the van had hit at least 10 people.

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the van had deliberately swerved into a group of people who were helping a man who was ill and had fallen to the ground.

“Basically, a van swerved into them deliberately,” Versi told Reuters, citing a witness.

He said the driver had run out of the van but a group of people caught him and held him until police arrived.

Britain has been hit by a series of attacks in recent months, including the van-and-knife attack on London Bridge on June 3.

On March 22, a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead. His attack killed five people.

On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England.

The attacks were a factor in campaigning ahead of the June 8 election, with Prime Minister May criticized for overseeing a drop of 20,000 in the number of police officers in England and Wales as interior minister from 2010 to 2016.

She was also criticized for keeping her distance from angry residents during her visit to the charred remains of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower.

She said on Saturday the response to the fire, in which at least 58 people were killed on Wednesday, had been “not good enough”.

The Finsbury Park Mosque gained notoriety more than a decade ago for sermons by radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was sentenced to life in a U.S. prison in January 2015 for his conviction on terrorism-related charges.

A new board of trustees and management took over in February 2005, a year after Abu Hamza was arrested by British police, since when attendance has greatly increased among worshippers from various communities, according to the mosque’s website.

Written by: Reuters

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Police arrest irresponsible armed men, rescue woman – Takhar

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2020)

Afghan forces have arrested a group of irresponsible armed men in operation in Takhar province, rescuing a woman, police confirmed.

The operation was conducted in Pir Kanda Kaw, Persian name, area in Farkhar district of the province on Friday night.

Khalil Asir, a spokesman for the provincial police told Ariana News that the gang’s head was shot dead in fire exchanges and six members of the bands were detained by police. 

Asir added that a woman – Kabul’s resident – who was abducted by the gang has been rescued.

Meanwhile, Afghan forces have seized a number of weapons and ammo of the group during the raids.

The band was involved in murders, armed robbery, kidnappings, and harassment of people, Police further said.

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ATN employee Sulaiman Yousufi dies of Coronavirus

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(Last Updated On: May 29, 2020)

COVID19 took the life of an employee of the Ariana International Television Network.

Sulaiman Yousufi, an employee of Ariana News and Ariana TV, died of coronavirus today.

Mr. Sulaiman Yousufi was infected by the Coronavirus a few days ago and died early today after severe suffering from respiratory troubles.

Yousufi had been working in the transportation department of Ariana TV and Ariana News for over a decade.

He is survived by a son and two daughters.

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Prisoner release; Taliban’s technical team negotiating with gov’t

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(Last Updated On: May 29, 2020)

Both the Taliban team and the government are negotiating on how to verify and release the prisoners, as well as obtaining guarantees of not returning to the war, Arg said.

An agreement on peace between the Taliban and the government has not yet been reached, but the US-Taliban peace agreement which was signed three months ago in Doha, Qatar says that the Afghan government should release 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 prisoners from the Taliban side.

A Taliban delegation is now in Kabul negotiating the prisoners’ release.

However, the Taliban has said that the team was in Kabul only to monitor the release of prisoners and has no further authority over other aspects of the peace process.

The Afghan government and the Taliban in their latest actions came to an agreement about a three-day ceasefire on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr.

The Afghan government is now urging the Taliban to take new and more practical steps in the process of starting Intra-Afghan negotiations.

Arg said that the government’s negotiating team was ready and that the government was committed to take new measures.

Sediq Sediqqi, the presidential spokesman said that the Afghan government had taken major steps towards peace and it was time for the Taliban to show the green light.

Sources close to the Taliban said that the unannounced ceasefire by the group is ongoing, but they will not start the Intra-Afghan negotiations until thousands of the Taliban prisoners are released.

The United States and the international community are waiting for the Afghan government and the Taliban to begin the first round of Intra-Afghan Talks, as the start of these talks could open new doors to the Afghan peace process.

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