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Merkel urges Iraq to probe alleged human rights abuses in Mosul

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human rights abuses in Mosul

BERLIN : – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday urged Iraqi President Haidar al-Abadi to investigate alleged human rights abuses that occurred during military operations to regain control of the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.

Merkel telephoned al-Abadi to congratulate him on the victory of U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in Mosul, calling it a “big step forward in the fight against Islamic State,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

The German leader also encouraged Abadi to investigate claims of human rights abuses that emerged after the military operations, Seibert said.

“Such human rights abuses must be prevented in the future,” Seibert said.

Amnesty International last week said that tactics used by Iraqi forces and their U.S.-led coalition allies in the battle for Mosul violated international humanitarian law and might amount to war crimes.

Another group, Human Rights Watch, said it had used satellite imagery to verify that a video published on Facebook that showed armed men in military uniforms beating a detainee before throwing him from a precipice and then shooting at him, had been filmed in west Mosul.

The footage also shows the men shooting at the body of another man already lying at the bottom of the precipice.

Reuters could not independently verify the footage. Since the victory announcement, security forces have severely restricted media access to west Mosul, saying they need to remove or defuse explosive devices.

Middle East

UN appeals for countries to take in 1,300 Libyan refugees

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Libyan refugees

The UN has appealed to countries worldwide to take in 1,300 mainly African refugees stranded in Libya. Many of them were mistreated while being detained appalling conditions.

Niger has agreed to temporarily host the most vulnerable of the evacuees, including unaccompanied children and single mothers, pending their processing and departure for resettlement, Reuters said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Monday that it “urgently requests 1,300 places for resettlement” to be made available by the end of March. The UNHCR intends to evacuate between 700 and 1,300 people from Libya to Niger by the end of January 2018.

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Middle East

‘Don’t buy from Arabs’, says Israeli Defense Minister

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Avigdor Lieberman

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called on his fellow citizens to boycott the Palestinian market of the Wadi Ara region of north-east Israel, after riots broke out there on Saturday over the American decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem.

Three people were injured when protesters began hurling stones at a bus. “I am calling for a boycott of Wadi Ara. Don’t go there and don’t buy there. They need to understand that it is impossible to demonstrate with Hezbollah flags, Palestinian flags and pictures of [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah.

To accept billions from the National Insurance [Institute] and to also destroy us from within,” Haaretz quoted Lieberman telling Army Radio.

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Hamas leader calls for ‘new intifada in the face of Israel’

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Ismail Haniyeh

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has called for a new uprising against Israel following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish state.

“We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in a speech in Gaza Thursday, Reuters reports.

Anti-US protests erupted almost immediately after Trump’s declaration Wednesday, with Palestinians first to take to the streets, calling for three days of rage against the move.

World leaders expressed serious concern over the decision and its potential to destabilize the region.

The decision has been welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked Trump, and said he be believes “many” other nations will follow suit in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pope Francis said he could not “remain silent” and spoke of his “great anxiety” surrounding the decision, while the EU voiced “serious concern.”

“I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days,”Francis said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican.

“Jerusalem is a unique city,” he added, “sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace.”

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