Tag Archives: International / National Security

Germany bans Salafi Muslim groups | Instant News


BERLIN, February 25 (Reuters) – German authorities carried out raids at several locations in Berlin and Brandenburg on Thursday after banning Berlin’s Salafi Muslim group, police said.

Berlin’s senate interior department on Thursday said it had banned the “jihad-salafi” association Jama’atu Berlin, also known as the Berlin Tauhid, and that police had carried out the raid, without providing further details.

The German newspaper Tagesspiegel said the group glorified the battle for “Islamic State” on the internet and called for the killing of Jews, adding that criminal proceedings were awaiting decisions against some of its members.

The newspaper added that the group had been in contact with Anis Amri, a Tunisian asylum seeker who failed with Islamic ties, who hijacked a truck and took it to a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people in 2016.

Salafis – strict Sunni Muslims – include peaceful private individuals, activists seeking to implement Sharia law, and militants who advocate violence to establish a state they perceive to represent true Islam.

The number of Salafis has risen in Germany to an all-time high of 12,150 in 2019, Germany’s domestic intelligence said in its annual report last year, listing them among “Islamic extremists”.

It said the number of Salafis has more than tripled since 2011 and that Salafi groups in Germany are going through a consolidation stage, adding that followers remain a low profile in public. (Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

.



image source

China has tried to intimidate Hong Kong activists in Germany, Berlin said | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong and Chinese national flags flying behind a pair of surveillance cameras outside the Central Government Office in Hong Kong, China July 20, 2020. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu

BERLIN (Reuters) – China has been trying to intimidate Hong Kong residents living in Germany since pro-democracy protests erupted in the city two years ago, the German interior ministry said in a letter to a lawmaker published on Tuesday.

The letter sent to the chairman of parliament’s human rights committee, Gyde Jensen, in response to requests for information on the matter, could add to the pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel to take a firm line on China’s human rights.

“Since the start of the protests in Hong Kong, increased efforts by Chinese state actors in Germany to influence public opinion supporting the Chinese government as well as actions against protest supporters have been identified,” the ministry said in the letter, first published in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and reviewed on Monday. Tuesday by Reuters.

The letter cites a protest in support of Hong Kong activists in Hamburg on 17 August 2019 in which Chinese counter-government demonstrators filmed and photographed participants “possibly for purposes of intimidation”.

About 720 people from Hong Kong have residence permits in Germany, he said.

Jensen, a member of the liberal FDP party, told Reuters: “It is time for the German government to realize that Chinese government actors can pose a threat to Hong Kong’s exiled citizens.”

“Unfortunately I am skeptical that the mechanisms used by our security agencies are sufficient to protect those affected effectively,” he said.

The Chinese Embassy in Berlin did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. A spokesman for the German interior ministry said he was not aware of the letter.

.



image source

Italy repatriates its ambassador and bodyguards who died in Congo | Instant News


GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Reuters) – A military plane leaving eastern Congo bound for Italy on Tuesday loaded the bodies of the Italian ambassador and bodyguards in coffins wrapped in the Italian flag, a day after they were shot dead in an ambush at the United Nations Convoy.

Ambassador Luca Attanasio, 43, and his bodyguard Vittorio Iacovacci, 30, died while traveling in a World Food Program convoy to visit a school feeding project. WFP driver Mustapha Milambo also died.

The two crates were loaded onto an Italian military cargo plane in the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, near the Rwandan border. The plane then took off for Rome.

According to the Congolese presidency, a two-car convoy was stopped on the road north of Goma by six gunmen, who killed the Milambo driver and took the other six passengers away. Soldiers and park rangers tracked the group and a gun battle ensued, during which the kidnappers shot the two Italians.

RWANDAN REBELS DON’T BLUE

Congo’s interior ministry blamed Rwandan Hutu rebel militias called the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) for the attacks. The FDLR, one of about 120 armed groups operating in eastern Congo, has denied responsibility for what it called the “cowardly killings”.

“The FDLR stated that they were not at all involved in the attack,” the group said in a statement.

The local governor said that the attackers spoke the Rwandan language Kinyarwanda.

The FDLR, set up by former Rwandan officers and militia blamed by the United Nations and others for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, has been blamed for previous kidnappings, including two British tourists who were detained for several days in May 2018.

President Felix Tshisekedi sent his top diplomatic adviser to Goma to support an investigation by local authorities, and the Congolese envoy in Rome will hand over a letter from Tshisekedi to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, the Congolese presidency said.

Dario Tedesco, an Italian volcanologist living in Goma, pays tribute to his friend Attanasio.

“He was able to talk to all of us, very differently because, he adapted to each of us, (made) us feel we were important,” said Tedesco. “He believes in what he is doing and this shouldn’t be his last trip.” (This story corrects the number of passengers to six, in paragraph 4)

Reporting by Fiston Mahamba and Hereward Holland; written by Hereward Holland; editing by Nellie Peyton, Philippa Fletcher, Giles Elgood and Peter Graff

.



image source

Any US-Iranian communication regarding detained US citizens has been via Swiss – official | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after taking a group photo with foreign ministers and representatives of the US, Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria 14 July 2015. REUTERS / Carlos Barria / Photo Files

DUBAI (Reuters) – Any communication between Tehran and Washington about US citizens detained in Iran has been made through the Swiss embassy which deals with US interests rather than through direct contact, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry said on Sunday.

Saeed Khatibzadeh was responding to statements on Sunday by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who said the United States had begun communicating with Iran over Tehran’s detention of US citizens.

“This news is not true as stated and there is no direct dialogue between Iran and the United States in any field,” said Khatibzadeh, according to the ISNA Student News Agency.

Earlier a news site quoted an unnamed source as saying: “The Iranian government has not discussed American detainees with Washington. All messages have been exchanged through the Swiss embassy in Tehran. “

Switzerland represents US interests in Iran because Washington and Tehran do not have diplomatic relations.

“Our priority is the release of Iranian prisoners in the United States,” said Khatibzadeh.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners in recent years, mostly on espionage charges. Human rights activists accuse Iran of using them as bargaining chips, something Tehran denies.

Tehran has repeatedly said it is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the United States. It said Iranians detained in the United States, mostly for violating sanctions, were detained unfairly.

Written by Parisa Hafezi; Edited by Edmund Blair and Frances Kerry

.



image source

Germany is ready for a ‘new chapter’ in transatlantic relations | Instant News


BERLIN, February 19 (Reuters) – Germany is poised for a “new chapter” in transatlantic relations in which the United States and Europe follow a common agenda, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

“In our principles and values, in our belief in democracy and its ability to act, we have a broad and sound basis,” he told the Munich Security Conference via video link.

“There is a lot to be done, and Germany is gearing up for a new transatlantic chapter.”

Big challenges like the pandemic and climate change must be tackled together in multilateralism, he said, and the United States and Europe must have a similar attitude towards Russia.

“It is very important for us to develop a general Russian transatlantic agenda, which on the one hand makes cooperative offers, but on the other hand clearly identifies differences,” he said. (Reporting by Paul Carrel; Written by Maria Sheahan)

.



image source