Senior Indonesian member of Daesh killed in Syria: police

The Daesh group flag. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 February 2019
0

Senior Indonesian member of Daesh killed in Syria: police

  • Muhammad Saifuddin was killed by shrapnel from a tank shell in late January in eastern Deir ez-Zor province
  • US had placed Saifuddin on a special global counter-terrorism list last August

JAKARTA: An Indonesian militant who appeared on a Daesh propaganda video showing the execution of a hostage and was said to be close to the militant group’s leader was killed in Syria last month, an Indonesian police spokesman and his brother said.
Muhammad Saifuddin, who was known by various aliases, including Abu Walid, was killed by shrapnel from a tank shell in late January in eastern Deir ez-Zor province, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said in a text message.
Prasetyo described him as an Daesh “executioner and soldier.”
Muinudinillah Basri, Saifuddin’s brother, said by telephone he had learned of his brother’s death after receiving a photo of his body.
He had not seen his brother since he left for Syria with his wife and children, he said.
The US government had placed Saifuddin, alongside two militants from Malaysia and the Philippines, on a special global counter-terrorism list last August.
According to the US Department of Treasury’s website, Saifuddin, also known as Mohammed Karim Yusop Faiz, had gone to Syria to join Daesh in 2014 and taken part in the execution of a prisoner in June 2016. He had previously been imprisoned in the Philippines for nine years on charges of illegal possession of explosives and weapons, it said.
Sofyan Tsauri, a former Indonesian militant, said Saifuddin was “an important figure” in Daesh who represented its Southeast Asian contingent and had been close to the group’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
Last weekend, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began an assault seeking to wipe out the last remnants of the militant group’s “caliphate” in the SDF’s area of operations in eastern and northern Syria. The enclave is close to the Iraqi border and comprises two villages. IS still retains territory in the part of Syria that is mostly under the control of the Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian government.


Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

Updated 21 March 2019
0

Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

  • Turkish president has threatened to "send home in coffins" visitors from Australia, New Zealand
  • Aussie and NZ leaders want Turkey to explain the "vile" and "offensive" remarks

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was condemned on Wednesday for “vile, offensive and reckless” comments after last week’s Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks.

Australia summoned the Turkish ambassador in Canberra to explain the remarks, and New Zealand dispatched its foreign minister to Ankara to “set the record straight, face to face.”

Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after he shot dead 50 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Erdogan, in election campaign rallies for his AK Party, urged New Zealand to restore the death penalty and said Turkey would make the killer pay if New Zealand did not.

He said anti-Muslim Australians who came to Turkey would be “sent back in coffins, like their grandfathers at Gallipoli,” and he accused Australian and New Zealand forces of invading Turkey during the First World War “because it is Muslim land.”

But an international affairs scholar in Riyadh said Erdogan’s comments should not be taken as representative of Muslims. 

"He is a propagandist and an unpredictable politician,” Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “He keeps saying these things and then he issues an apology. Right now, he is making these incendiary comments to win elections.”

It was inappropriate behavior for a head of state, Al-Shehri said. “Which president would use such language and issue these kind of comments?”

In his speech, Erdogan said that the Gallipoli peninsula campaign in 1915 was in fact an attempt by British colonial forces to relieve their Russian allies. The attack was a military disaster, and more than 11,000 Australian and New Zealand forces were killed. Thousands of people from both countries travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services, and the anniversary is marked on Anzac Day every April 25.

“Remarks have been made by the Turkish President Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after summoning the Turkish ambassador and dismissing the “excuses” offered.

“I am expecting, and I have asked, for these comments to be clarified, to be withdrawn.” Morrison described claims about Australia and New Zealand’s response to the white supremacist attack as “vile.” He accused Erdogan of betraying the promise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to forge peace between the two countries.

A memorial at Gallipoli carries Ataturk’s words: “There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets ... after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

“Ataturk sought to transform his country into a modern nation and an embracing nation, and I think these comments are at odds with that spirit,” Morrison said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her deputy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters, would travel to Turkey to seek clarification of Erdogan’s comments. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face,” she said.