More mass graves discovered in Libya

A mass grave containing two dozen unidentified bodies was discovered in the coastal city of Sirte, once controlled by ISIS, a Libyan government agency said July 15. The National Authority for Searching & Identifying Missing People, a body of the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, said its team is recovering the 24 bodies found under destroyed buildings in the district of al-Kambo. No details were provided on a potential date when the bodies were interred. However, Sirte was a stronghold for ISIS from February 2015 to December 2016, when the militants were driven out by US-backed forces loyal to the Tripoli government. (AP) A mass grave was similarly uncovered in the city in October 2022.

ISIS claims Ashura mosque attack in Oman

Nine people were killed, including three attackers, and 30 more wounded as gunmen opened fire on worshippers outside a Shi'ite mosque in Wadi al-Kabir district of Muscat, the capital of usually peaceful Oman. The assailants reportedly shouted as they fired, "You non-believers, this is your end!" Four Pakistani nationals and a police officer were among those killed. The Islamic State group (ISIS) claimed responsibility the July 16 attack, which occurred during the Shi'ite holy month of Ashura. ISIS released a video showing three men holding rifles and their black flag, boasting of "the targeting of the Rafida," a pejorative term for Shi'ites. (The National, BBC News, France24AFP, JPMEMRI)

Russian playwright gets prison for 'justifying terrorism'

A Russian military court on July 15 convicted a playwright and a theater director and sentenced them each to six years in prison over a play that was found to "justify terrorism." The judge found writer Svetlana Petriychuk and director Yevgeniya Berkovich, who had been in pre-trial detention since May 2023, guilty under Article 205.2 of the Russian Criminal Code. This provision makes the offense of "justifying terrorism" punishable by up to seven years imprisonment.

Uranium at issue in Great Game for Sahel

The ruling junta in Niger has revoked the operating license of French nuclear fuel producer Orano at one of the world's largest uranium mines. State-owned Orano announced June 20 that it had been ordered out of the Imouraren mine in Niger's north. The junta reportedly cited the company's slowness in developing the mine, which has been repeatedly put off due to a plunge in world uranium prices following the Fukushima disaster. 

Niger: jihadis score deadly blow against junta

Authorities in Niger declared three days of national mourning June 26 after an ambush on security forces near the village of Tassia resulted in the deaths of at least 20 soldiers and one civilian. Tassia lies in the western Tillabéri region bordering Mali and Burkina Faso, long a stronghold of jihadist​ insurgents. The incident highlights the growing challenges facing the ruling junta, one year after it came to power in a July 2023 coup, overthrowing the civilian government led by Mohamed Bazoum. (TNH, Al Jazeera

HRW: Afghanistan Hazara community at risk

Inadequate protections by the de facto Taliban authorities in Afghanistan continue to leave the Shi'ite Hazara community at risk of being targeted in atrocities that may amount to war crimes, according a report released May 3 by Human Rights Watch. The report emphasized the threat from the self-declared Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), which continues to carry out attacks targeting Hazara mosques, schools and neighborhoods. In the most recent such attack, on April 29, a presumed ISKP militant opened fire on worshippers at a Hazara mosque at Guzara, in western Herat province, killing six, including a child.

Germany: ISIS suspect arrested for war crimes

The German Federal Criminal Police on April 11 arrested a suspect identified as Sohail A, said to be a former member of the Syrian insurgent group Liwa Jund al-Rahman and the Islamic State. Both are designated "terrorist organizations" by the German government, making membership an offense under Section 129a of the Criminal Code. Sohail A is also accused of participating in war crimes incuding forced displacement, breaching Section 8 of the International Criminal Code.

Tajikistan denies Moscow claim of mercenary recruitment

Tajikistan's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Shokhin Samadi on April 6 denied claims by Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev that Ukraine has been recruiting mercenaries for its military in the country's territory. Patrushev charged that Kyiv's embassy in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, has been recruiting Tajikistan nationals to join the International Legion of the Ukrainian army, in return for a pathway to Ukrainian citizenship. The comments were made during a meting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Kazakhstan.

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