Journal

Our thoughts and impressions about life...

Read More

EXCLUSIVE: EGYPTAIR CO-PILOT ON HIS ORDEAL ALONE WITH HIJACKER

Newsweek. 31st March 2016.

 

On the morning of Tuesday, March 29, Hamad el Kaddah woke up and ate a quick breakfast before leaving his hotel for the Borg El Arab Airport in Alexandria, Egypt. It was an unexceptional morning for the EgyptAir pilot, who has made this journey hundreds of times in his five years with the company.

The day would end with Kaddah being the final person on the plane—other than a hijacker—before the world’s media pictured him dramatically jumping out of the Airbus 320’s cockpit window onto the tarmac at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus. The man who studied to become a pilot at flight school for Monarch Airlines in Addison, Texas, had not been taught how to negotiate with hijackers. He had previously read about how to handle a hostage situation but, today, he would learn the hard way.

Read more.

Read More

LONDON’S ISIS CELL: INSIDE THE EAST END SUBURB OF BARKING WHERE JIHADIS MEET FAR-RIGHT NATIONALISTS

Newsweek. 6th June 2017.

The 10-story block of flats on King’s Road, Barking, could be anywhere in suburban London. Modern social housing with staggered metal balconies overlook a quiet residential street. The playful shrieks of children on their lunch break filter through from a nearby school. Residents leave their homes to get groceries or to walk their children on tree-lined sidewalks.

But the Elizabeth Fry Flats—named after the 19th century British social reformer known as the “Angel of Prisons”—harbored a peddler of death in London’s East End: Khuram Shazad Butt.

Read more.

Read More

EXCLUSIVE: PRIVATE ISIS LETTER OUTLINES GROUP’S MERCILESS TACTICS AHEAD OF MOSUL BATTLE

Newsweek. 15th October 2016.

The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) is as brutal in its private orders to its top commanders as it is in its public propaganda, according to a letter obtained by Newsweek, sent when the group was threatened in the northern Syrian city of Manbij in August.

As ISIS fighters struggled to keep control of Manbij against encroaching U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab forces, an unnamed emir of the group’s War Committee in Raqqa, its de facto capital, dispatched a three-page, handwritten communique to the top ISIS commander in the city, Abu Yahya al-Shami. The letter ordered al-Shami to execute defecting fighters, quash dissent in its ranks and imprison “bewitched” militants—a message analysts say the ISIS leadership will communicate to its commanders in Mosul in the face of a U.S.-Iraqi offensive that began on Monday.

Read more.

Read More

THE FINAL MOMENTS OF MUSLIM GRANDMOTHER WHO WAS FIRST VICTIM OF NICE ATTACK

Newsweek. 18th July 2016.

Fatima Charrihi, as with every day, spoke to her only sister and best friend Aicha Aissaoui in Amsterdam on the phone Thursday. At around 7 p.m., Aicha was preparing to take her children for a sushi dinner in the Dutch capital. “Have fun with your daughters, enjoy life while you’re still with them,” Fatima said at the end of the conversation. Four hours later, she was dead.

Read more.

Read More

LONDON ATTACK: SURVIVOR RECOUNTS NEAR-MISS, HORROR AS CAR RAMMED CIVILIANS ON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE

Newsweek. 22nd March 2017.

Rob Lyon, a 34-year-old marketing director, isn’t a London native. On Wednesday, he had traveled to the U.K.’s capital city from Rugby, in central England, with two colleagues for a work trip. But he found himself on the scene in a series of events that police are calling terrorism. Lyon narrowly survived a deadly car-ramming in Westminster, the heart of British democracy, in an attack that left at least five people dead and many wounded, several with life-threatening injuries.

Read more.

Read More

PIRATES OF THE CALIPHATE: WHO IS THE SOMALI KINGPIN ACCUSED OF AIDING AL SHABAB?

Newsweek. 19th August 2017.

A feared Somali pirate kingpin is being investigated by the United Nations over claims that he has aided fighters from the Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group Al-Shabab.

A top United Nations official confirmed to Newsweek that Mohamed Garfanji Ali Dulai has provided logistical support to the Islamist fighters, who have been waging a bloody insurgency against the Somali state since 2006.

“We believe he has been involved in the moving and provision of boats and logistical support to move Al-Shabab fighters into the Galgala mountains,” said Alan Cole, head of the U.N.’s Maritime Crime Programme.

Read more.

Read More

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ON ISIS’S HIT LIST?

Newsweek. 10th May 2016.

After every tragic extremist attack in a capital city, be it Paris, Brussels or Beirut, dark thoughts inevitably creep into our minds. A sudden jolt as the tube stops in a dark tunnel, unexpected turbulence on a plane, or the sight of armed police patrolling the streets can make you briefly wonder how it might feel if you, or someone you love, was caught up in the carnage of a militant attack. But what if supporters of a radical Islamist group knew your name, where you lived and your phone number, with the order already given to target you?

Read more.

Read More

FEMALE JIHADIS GIVE ISIS NEW AVENUES FOR ATTACKS

Newsweek. 31st October 2016.

It was early on a Sunday morning in September when French police discovered a Peugeot parked near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris with its hazard lights flashing and its license plates removed. The car carried seven gas cylinders, six of them full, and three cans of diesel. The perpetrators had perhaps intended to blow it up with a lit cigarette and a fuel-soaked blanket, but the vehicle failed to detonate. Three weeks after that failed plot, police arrested two teenage suspects accused of planning a violent attack in Nice, the details of which haven’t been made public.

Read more.

Read More

WHY ISRAEL IS MOVING TO DOWNGRADE THE ARABIC LANGUAGE

Newsweek. 8th May 2017.

In Israel, Arabic has long been taught in schools, spoken in the parliament and posted on road signs. It is not the official language, but neither is Hebrew, the mother tongue of most of the country. Instead, a law on the books since the British ruled the territory has mandated that all official correspondences be published in Arabic, English and Hebrew. (Israeli leaders removed English from that list after the country’s independence in 1948.)

Yet Arabic may soon get a tacit demotion. On May 7, Israeli lawmakers approved the wording of a long-discussed bill that would define Hebrew as Israel’s “national language.” Days later, after a rowdy debate in the parliament, a majority of lawmakers voted for it. The legislation now faces two more hurdles before it officially becomes law, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ruling right-wing coalition strongly support it.

Read more.

Read More

HOW RUSSIA BECAME THE MIDDLE EAST’S NEW POWER BROKER

Newsweek. 9th February 2017.

On the morning of January 11, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar climbed up the companionway of an aircraft carrier floating off the Mediterranean port of Tobruk. As a Marine band played and an honor guard presented arms, an admiral in a white full-dress uniform greeted the Libyan strongman, who was a senior commander in the U.S.-backed rebel forces that ousted the dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. After the welcoming ceremony, the 73-year-old Haftar, an American citizen who for many years lived in the United States, was escorted below decks for a secure video conference with the Middle East’s most energetic foreign power broker. The official topic was battling terrorists. But both sides knew the unofficial agenda was something else: how to boost Haftar’s power as he tries to defeat a weak, U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.

Haftar has close ties in Washington, but his hosts in January were not American. Rather, he was aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s only aircraft carrier, and his interlocutor was Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Like a growing number of leaders in the Middle East, Haftar has a new set of friends in Moscow.

Read more.

Read More

EXCLUSIVE: AYLAN KURDI’S MOTHER REVEALED FAMILY’S DESTINATION WAS GERMANY IN FINAL PHONE CALL

Newsweek. 4th September 2015.

The Syrian mother who died at sea with her two sons attempting to reach the Greek mainland earlier this week revealed that the family’s final destination was Germany in a heartbreaking final phone-call a day before their tragic deaths, her father told Newsweek in an exclusive interview late Thursday.

Sexo Seno Kurdi, the grandfather of Aylan and Galip Kurdi, the brothers photographed washed up on a Turkish beach on Wednesday, said that after his conversation with his daughter, Rehan, who dreamed of a new life in Europe, the next call he would receive would be to deliver the horrifying news that she was dead at sea.

Read more.