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US Lawmakers Condemn Dhaka Terror Attack

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The White House on Saturday condemned the terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in which 20 people were killed, including an American and Indian citizen.

“We remain in contact with Bangladeshi authorities and have offered any assistance necessary,” Politico.com quoted White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest as saying.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we hope for a speedy recovery for those wounded,” a statement from the White House continued.

“This is a despicable act of terrorism, and the United States stands with Bangladesh and the international community in our resolve to confront terrorism wherever it occurs,” the statement added.

All the attackers in the assault on a cafe in Dhaka were Bangladeshi citizens and five of them were wanted by police.

Police Inspector General Shahidul Hoque told CNN that police had tried to arrest these five militants previously.

Authorities also released the nationalities of the 20 hostages who were found dead inside the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe after Bangladeshi troops stormed the cafe early Saturday morning, ending an overnight siege.

According to the country’s Joint Force Command, nine of the victims were Italian, seven were Japanese, one was from India, two were Bangladeshi and one was a US citizen of Bangladeshi origin. Eleven of the victims were male and nine were female.

Two police officers were also killed in a gunfire exchange earlier in the standoff, authorities said.

Security forces rescued 13 hostages and killed six gunmen on Saturday morning, ending the nation’s worst hostage crisis, being termed as Bangladesh’s ‘7/16’.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called a two-day state mourning for the victims, who included nine Italians, seven Japanese, three Bangladeshis and an Indian teenager, at the Holey Artisan café in the diplomatic area of Gulshan in Dhaka.

One of the gunmen, injured in the shootout, was captured, while 13 hostages were rescued at the end of the 12-hour siege. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have condemned the attack.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed the killing of 19-year-old Tarishi Jain of Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh.

“Tarishi was 19 years old. She passed out from American School Dhaka. Presently, she was a student at Berkeley,” Sushma posted.

The attack began at 8.45 p.m. when around 20-22 guests were at the Holey Artisan Bakery downstairs and the O’Kitchen Restaurant upstairs, a cafe popular with foreigners.

The gunmen, shouting “Allahu Akbar” raided the cafe and took hostages, and slaughtered those who were unable to recite the Quran, said rescued hostages.

Officials said the 13 rescued hostages included a Japanese and two Sri Lankans.

The Bangladeshi branch of the Islamic State claimed the attack through its mouthpiece, the Amaq news agency, saying 24 people “of different nationalities” were killed and 40 others were injured.

The Daily Star reported that hostages were made to recite verses from the Quran and those who could were not harmed.

The attack has also been condemned by other countries, including Pakistan and Malaysia, while the European Union has also voiced condemnation.

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US to revoke visas of Saudi officials implicated in death of Jamal Khashoggi

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BREAKING: The United State to revoke visas of some Saudi officials implicated in death of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo also said during a press conference that the State and Treasury departments are looking at the possibility of sanctions meant to target those responsible for human rights violations.

The announcement comes after President Trump called the kingdom’s efforts to hide Khashoggi’s killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul the “worst cover-up ever,” stepping up his rhetoric as frustrations directed at Riyadh grow.

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US slaps sanctions on Taliban, Iranian supporters

Washington has intensified its sanctions against Iranian entities and individuals after President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal in May, a move that has been widely criticized by the international community.

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Washington, Oct 24 : The US Treasury announced on Tuesday that it has imposed sanctions on eight individuals, including two associated with Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — Qods Force (IRGC-QF), in an effort to hit Afghanistan’s Taliban militants.

The Treasury accused the designated Taliban members of engaging in suicide attacks and other activities in Afghanistan and blamed the Iranians for providing financial and material support for the Taliban, Xinhau reported.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed in a statement that Iran was “exploiting Afghanistan to further their destabilizing behaviour”.

Mnuchin is on a week-long trip to the Middle East with talks on combating terrorist financing and looming Iran sanctions.

Also on Tuesday, the other member nations of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre (TFTC), all US Gulf allies, also imposed Taliban-related sanctions.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain announced Tuesday to add Iran’s IRGC to the list of terror-related individuals and organisations, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Washington has intensified its sanctions against Iranian entities and individuals after President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal in May, a move that has been widely criticized by the international community.

New US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports are set to kick in on November 4.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said his country will manage to abort anti-Iran sanctions by the United States, Press TV reported on Monday.

The TFTC, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, was formed in May 2017 and inaugurated by the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Trump on the sidelines of the Arab-Islamic-American Summit last year.

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UN calls for probe into Pakistani reporter’s murder

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Paris, Oct 23 The head of the United Nations cultural organisation UNESCO on Tuesday deplored the slaying of journalist Sohail Khan in northwest Pakistan last week and urged the country’s authorities to bring his killers to justice.

“I condemn the killing of Sohail Khan,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “I trust the authorities will spare no effort in investigating this crime, which undermines the fundamental human right of freedom of expression as well as the right to access information,” he said.

“A free press plays an essential role in combating organized crime and upholding the rule of law,” Azoulay added.

Sohail Khan, a reporter for local Urdu daily, which also operates a local television channel, was gunned down on October 16 in the Haripur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.

Khan, 28, was murdered days after a report on drug trafficking, the Freedom Network watchdog organization said. He was the third journalist killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year. His killing sparked protests by journalists across Pakistan.

Four reporters have been murdered in Pakistan since January, the watchdog said.(IANS/AKI)

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