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Monday, 16 September 2013

Jewish teenagers attacked at Paris sports court

(JTA) — A group of teenagers assaulted 10 Jewish students at a public sports center in Paris.

According to France’s Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism, several teenagers “of African and North African origins” attacked the group of Jewish 13-year-olds from the Ner HaThorah Jewish school on Thursday. There were no serious injuries.

The attackers asked the Jews to stop “occupying the area,” the report said, called them “dirty Jews” and said “Hitler didn’t finish the job.”

When police arrived, the attackers fled, according to a bureau report published Friday on the French Jewish news site JSSnews.

Parents and pupils said the attack, in the 19th Arrondissement, turned into a fight as the Jewish pupils tried to defend themselves.

The Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism called on French police to prosecute the attackers.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Tens of thousands of Tunisians march against Islamist-led government

Tunisia protest

People demonstrate with a national's flags against Tunisia's Islamist-led government, in front of the Constituent Assembly headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia, Saturday Sept. 7, 2013..(AP Photo/Hassene Didri)

Bouazza Ben Bouazza, The Associated Press 
Published Saturday, September 7, 2013 4:21PM EDT 

TUNIS, Tunisia -- Tens of thousands of Tunisians on Saturday called for the resignation of the Islamist-led government in one of the largest opposition protests to date.

The protest, organized by the National Salvation Front coalition of parties, marked the traditional 40-day mourning period since the assassination of opposition politician Mohammed Brahmi.

His killing in front of his family plunged the country into a political crisis and prompted dozens of opposition members of the assembly to withdraw from the body, paralyzing its work of writing the country's new constitution.

They announced Friday they would begin a hunger strike until their demands were met.

Weeks of mediation by the main labour union between the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party and the opposition have not borne fruit.

"We are determined to continue the struggle to extract the country from the disastrous situation it finds itself in because of those in power," said Beji Caid Essebsi, leader of the right-of-centre Nida Tunis (Tunis Calls) party, one of the main opposition groups.

"After the blood, Ennahda has no legitimacy," chanted demonstrators who came from all over the country to answer the opposition call for the march.

When Tunisians overthrew their decades-old authoritarian government in January 2011, it sparked a wave of pro-democracy uprisings across the region, but the transition to democracy has been rocky since.

"Leave! The dictator understood, but you still don't understand," chanted the marchers, referring to how Tunisia's president fled for Saudi Arabia in the face of popular demonstrations.

The opposition is demanding the Islamist-led government resign immediately for what they say is its failure to ensure security or manage the economy.

Ennahda has countered by offering to dissolve the government after four weeks to ensure the constitution is completed and the body charged with organizing elections has been put in place. In August, Ennahda, which rules in a coalition with two secular parties, organized its own pro-government demonstration of comparable size.

The competing offers have been relayed over the past few weeks by a mediation team composed of the heads of the main labour union, known as the UGTT, the chamber of commerce, the bar association and the league for human rights. They also presented proposals of their own to resolve the crisis.

By the end of last week, however, Houcine Abassi of the UGTT indicated that the talks had broken down.

"We can't say that we've failed in our initiative, but we can't say that we've achieved our goals," a stern-faced Abassi said late Friday.

The opposition has held several protests since Brahmi's death, but Saturday appears to be one of the largest, and opposition leader Samir Taieb said more would come until Ennahda resigned.

"Today we are embarking on a new stage in the struggle to impose the solution proposed by the UGTT, the chamber of commerce, the lawyers and the league for human rights."

In the turbulent two and a half years since the fall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has been wracked by a weak economy, militant attacks and social unrest.

But its fractious political parties have always managed to reach compromises on key issues. The latest standoff is the greatest crisis of the transition and a solution acceptable to both sides appears to still be distant.

With the overthrow of the elected president in Egypt by the military, there has been renewed focus on whether Tunisia's own transition will succeed.

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West struggles to cope with online recruitment for Syria jihad

A fighter from the Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra rides a motorcycle along a deserted street in Deir al-Zor August 17, 2013. Picture taken August 17, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

(Reuters) - "I am French," explains the young man in the YouTube video carrying a Kalashnikov and wearing a kufiya cotton headdress as he sits in front of a waving black-and-white flag of al Qaeda.

"Oh my Muslim brothers in France, Europe and in the whole world, Jihad in Syria is obligatory," says the fair-skinned youth with sandy hair, wispy beard and southern French accent, imploring viewers to join him and his younger brother in Syria.

"There are many Muslims in the world and we need you."  Although the United States and its European allies support rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, they consider some rebel groups to be dangerous terrorist organisations linked to al Qaeda.

Officials in Western countries say they are worried about the threat from their own nationals going abroad to fight in Syria and one day returning to carry out attacks at home.

"There is a key factor in the Syria war now: the number of French nationals who are fighting there. It is a problem of national security," a senior French diplomat told Reuters.

Radicals heading to Syria are learning about the war online from social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and user forums. Security experts say that makes it harder than ever to disrupt the networks that might lure them in.

"The Islamist radicalisation going on today isn't with preachers anymore, acting within mosques, but individuals who are using the Internet as a means of propaganda," said sociologist Samir Amghar, author of the book "Militant Islam in Europe."

As the West considers strikes on Syria to punish Assad's government for suspected chemical weapons attacks, as many as 600 Europeans have already joined the rebellion against him, according to the European Union, which in May recommended better tracking of social media to spot foreign fighters.

A much smaller number of Americans are also believed to be fighting. A Muslim convert from Michigan was the first U.S. woman believed to have been killed alongside the rebels in May.

Computer experts and police say online recruitment is particularly difficult to disrupt because of the dizzying volume of material, time lags in capturing digital evidence, the difficulty of cross-border cooperation and the uncertainty of securing convictions in countries that safeguard free speech.

"I describe it as a Sisyphean task," said Shiraz Maher of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College, London. "You try and pull it down and it will come back in one form or another."

"How do you begin to challenge this? It's just practically impossible to do, it's out there in such quantity."


Syria has now eclipsed conflicts in AfghanistanIraqLibya and Mali to dominate web discussion by Islamists. Some 40 different rebel factions are uploading status reports from the ground in Syria in real time, said senior analyst Laith Alkhouri of security consultancy Flashpoint Global Partners.

Just a few keystrokes can uncover Germans, Italians, Belgians, British, Americans, even Australians - Muslim-born or recently converted - on social networking sites encouraging their countrymen to leave their homes and take up arms in Syria.

"Oh brothers! You don't need someone to take you by the hand to get there. A bit of resourcefulness and you're off!" wrote "Erwan" in a June 23 posting on French radical Islamist forum Ansar Al Haqq. He included links showing the easiest way to Syria from Turkey.

Authorities sometimes choose to shut or sabotage the sites of groups they identify as terrorists, as the United States and Britain did in corrupting online issues of al Qaeda's "Inspire" English-language magazine.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said in June that police had removed over 5,700 pieces of online terrorism content since 2011. Yet that is only a fraction of the estimated 50,000 extremist sites globally, according to the University of Arizona's Dark Web Project, which collects and analyses data from global jihadist forums.

While governments and major social networking sites quickly take down material deemed clearly offensive, such as videos of prisoners being beheaded, most content is less clear cut.

Authorities seeking to curb what they consider to be dangerous material on the Web have to make fine distinctions between political speech that is protected in most Western countries, and incitement to violence which is banned.

Sociologist Amghar said many of the sites are promoting an ideology, rather than calling for violence.

"The objective of many of these sites is not to incite individuals to commit attacks but rather to keep the idea of Jihad in the forefront of people's minds," he said. "The hard part to gauge with precision is what's the impact."

In a sign of the difficulty of stamping out extremism on the Internet, both France and Germanyabandoned moves to block such content in the past two years.

The West's opposition to Assad muddies the issue further. It means any Westerners fighting against the government - and anyone on the internet urging them to do so - are ostensibly on the same side as Western authorities.

France's top anti-terrorism judge, Marc Trevidic, foresees challenges in prosecuting return Westerners who return home, given the difficulty of tracking their movements in Syria and proving they joined groups, such as the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, that Western states consider terrorists. A recruiting video may fall short of proof needed for conviction.

"We consider that wanting to fight Jihad is being a terrorist. But things aren't so simple," Trevidic told an anti-terrorism parliamentary committee in February.

France has opened five formal Syria-related terrorism investigations but no cases have yet been decided by a judge, according to a justice ministry source.

Across the Atlantic, a U.S. citizen, Eric Harroun, was indicted in June by a federal grand jury for allegedly fighting alongside the al-Nusra Front. He can be been seen in online videos posing with weapons and boasting of successful attacks.


There are benefits to leaving extremist online material in place, security experts say.

"It's an excellent tool for intelligence," said criminologist Alain Bauer, a former security advisor to French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy. "Western intelligence agencies should give Facebook, YouTube and these other sites a medal."

Eighty percent of terrorism cases before French courts rely exclusively on evidence from the Internet, according to a May 24 parliamentary report on terrorism.

"There's a sense of 'disrupt the flow' when they can, and also a sense of 'leave it be, let's monitor'," said Maher.

When authorities do try to take material off the Web, they are often too late to be effective. It may take months before YouTube responds to a government request to remove an offending video. In the interim, hundreds of copies may have been made and reposted, fuelled by buzz about the video on Twitter.

A system in which users flag inappropriate content is faster, but given that 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, it's not fast enough to keep such content offline.

"It takes five minutes to upload a one-hour video but it might take five months to get YouTube to be aware of this video," said Flashpoint's Alkhouri.

A spokesman for Google, which owns YouTube, said the company responds quickly after users flag content forbidden under policy guidelines, such as incitement to violence.

Given the flood of volume, Western police agencies need smarter tools allowing them to pinpoint and analyse the most dangerous content, a capability most don't have, said Hsinchun Chen, who runs Dark Web at the University of Arizona.

"The analogy is drinking water from the fire hydrant, the content just keeps coming through and how do you monitor that?"

Chen's Dark Web portal relies on multilingual data mining and content analysis to gather and sift through terrorist web content. He said a similar systematic method of collection is currently used only by Israel and one U.S. security agency.

"(Intelligence agencies) are experts in investigations but most of them are not experts in computer science. They don't have the resources or the will or the capability to collect large amounts of information on a systematic basis," Chen said. "They should have it, and it's available."

That also raises privacy issues, which have come to the fore in the United States since former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency collects huge amounts of data from phone calls and internet traffic.

In its May report, France's parliamentary commission recommended strengthening the technical means and automation of Internet surveillance. It added that high-level engineers were "impossible to recruit."


Fighting online extremist content requires a cross-border response as websites may appear in one country but be hosted in another. But information-sharing can be slow and the sensitive nature of terrorism cases adds further delays.

"As soon as you talk about terrorism and national security there are other rules of the game," said Troels Oerting, head of the European Cybercrime Centre at Europol, which helps countries monitor the Web. "National security is very national, it's not very international."

One such example is Malika el Aroud, a Belgian-Moroccan convicted in 2007 by Switzerland for operating a website that recruited militant Islamist fighters to Afghanistan, only to launch a similar site across the border in Belgium. A Belgian court ultimately sentenced her to prison in 2010.

Police are likely to devote more effort to immediate local threats than hypothetical future threats, like those that might be posed by returned fighters from Syria.

"If I'm an intelligence officer in Paris and my primary concern is to make sure nothing happens on the Metro, I'm not immediately concerned by the guy saying, 'Go to Syria,'" said radicalisation expert Maher.

"The urgent threat is the guy sitting in a Parisian suburb building a bomb," he said. "You have to balance resources between that threat and the important more slow-moving threat that will germinate and come to fruition in years to come."

(Additional Reporting By Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Peter Graff)

US Jewish leaders petition Congress to authorise Syria strike

Syrian chemical weapons attack
A mother and father weep over their child's body, killed in the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria. Photograph: REX/Erbin News/NurPhoto petition evokes memories of Holocaust and urges leaders to act to deter future atrocities in 'Syria and elsewhere'

High-profile US rabbis and Jewish leaders are petitioning Congress to authorise President Barack Obama to use military strikes in response toSyria's use of chemical weapons.

Addressed to congressional leaders and signed on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the petition evokes memories of the Holocaust and urges leaders to act to "save thousands of lives" and to deter future atrocities in "Syria and elsewhere".

It says: "As a people who themselves once faced the horrors of genocide and survived, we had hoped that we would never again open our newspapers to images of mass graves filled with suffocated young children. Now that we have seen such images coming from Syria, we call upon you to act."

It describes the chemical weapons attack on the suburbs of Damascus as a "serious crime against humanity" that killed upwards of 1,400 people, including innocent women and children.

Signatories to the petition include Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, a conservative leader described by the Jerusalem Post as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world; Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Yosef Blau, a rabbinic leader of Yeshiva University; Jonathan Sarna, a prominent professor of Jewish history; Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author and Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Council of America.

The petition, on cites the intelligence assessments from the US, UK, France, Israel, Turkey, the Arab League and others as conclusive proof that the Assad regime was responsible for the August 21 attacks.

"We fear that if this attack passes without a decisive response, we might open our newspapers to more images of mass graves from Syria – and elsewhere – in the near future. We have learned from our own history that inaction and silence are the greatest enablers of human atrocity" it says.

It continues: "For this reason, we call upon you with great urgency to authorize the president to use force in Syria 'in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction,' as outlined in his August 31st draft legislation. Through this act, Congress has the capacity to save thousands of lives."

This week Obama has seen support for limited military attacks on Syria grow among American Jewish leaders and organisations. A statement by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, on Tuesday, said there was a "moral imperative" for the US to act, and agreed with the president's determination that America's "vital national security" interests are at stake.

The Republican Jewish Coalition sent an action alert on Tuesday to its 45,000 members directing them to urge Congress to authorise force in Syria. The RJC's opposite number, the National Jewish Democratic Council, has also called for military intervention as has the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations..

The president, who spoke to 1,000 rabbis in an annual conference call which took place last Friday, has said a military response is needed to uphold an international ban on the use of chemicals weapons and to deter Syria from using them again on his people or on neighbours such as Israel or Jordan.

The Guardian was unable to reach the petition's signatories on Thursday.

However, one signatory, Orthodox Rabbi Avi Weiss, who heads the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in the Bronx, told WNYC radio in New York on Wednesday: "The Syrians have to hear a very, very clear message that this is going to be unacceptable to the world," he said.

Films portray hope, hurdles for Jewish-Palestinian ties

Ana Arabia is the true story of a Polish Auschwitz survivor living with her Arab husband in a village on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

Ana Arabia is the true story of a Polish Auschwitz survivor living with her Arab husband in a village on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

In Amos Gitai’s film Ana Arabia, premiered in Venice this week, a Palestinian whose late wife was an Auschwitz survivor and Muslim convert treks to Arab cities to find a dentist instead of one five minutes away in Tel Aviv.

In Bethlehem, the work of an Israeli director and Palestinian screenwriter, an Israeli Shin Bet secret service agent uses a young Palestinian boy as an informant with tragic consequences, mostly because they have become close friends.

The two Israeli films shown at the Venice Film Festival depict Israelis and Palestinians married or working closely together. But alongside these glimmers of hope lie deep misunderstandings and enmities that reinforce the impression of an unbridgeable divide.

Gitai’s Ana Arabia is in competition for the top Venice awards, the Golden Lions, to be awarded today. Yuval Adler’s Bethlehem is being screened out of competition.

Gitai, who has made some 80 feature films and shorts over four decades, said he was drawn to the true story of a Polish Auschwitz survivor living with her Arab husband in a village on the outskirts of Tel Aviv as a way to undermine stereotypes and show the need to embrace diversity.

I think that my personal message to this very bloody Middle East is that we can instil relations of people from different origins, different beliefs, even not agreeing with each other necessarily

The film is made from a single 81-minute shot, uncut.

The camera trails an Israeli journalist called Yael, played by Sarah Adler, walking through alleyways and into houses and a garden that had been reclaimed by the dead Jewish-Muslim woman from a stone-and-rubble-strewn plot.

Yael interviews the woman’s husband Youssef, who says his family has lived in the area for 150 years, and talks to her children and relatives about her and their lives.

One of them tells her that even though Palestinians provide the backbone of manual labour in Israel, they are treated worse than newly arrived immigrant Russian Jews.

“It’s really a story of Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Israelis and I think that my personal message to this very bloody Middle East, very savage and brutal Middle East, is that we can instil relations of people from different origins, different beliefs, even not agreeing with each other necessarily,” Gitai said.

He said the decision to film everything uncut in a single shot symbolised the future possibility of an undivided society.

Director Adler said the landscape and tone was inspired by the Daniel Day-Lewis vehicle There Will Be Blood about the early days of the oil boom in America.

“I’ll tell you something I like about There Will Be Blood. First of all is the exteriors, this nature... so we shot in this stony landscape,” he said in a joint interview with the film’s screenwriter, Palestinian journalist Ali Waked.

The main characters are the Shin Bet agent Razi, his teenaged informant Sanfur and operatives from the Islamic militant al-Aqsa Brigades and Hamas.

“The secret service guys were the hardest to get,” said Adler.

“I think that films about the conflict, we have plenty. We wanted the new angle that... there is no black and white in this conflict,” said Waked, who covered Palestinian affairs for Israeli Internet site Ynet for 11 years.

“For me it was much easier to... describe Israelis as victims or Palestinians as the only victims. We made the hard choice to focus on the grey.”

Syria’s Christians Risk Eradication

U.S. policy towards Syria is bafflingly inconsistent. If U.S. leaders are so concerned about regimes slaughtering thousands of their own people, did they notice what just happened in Egypt? If they are so exercised over about weapons of mass destruction, are they aware that Israel has two hundred nuclear warheads, with delivery systems? Will American warships in the region be making those other stops on their liberating mission?
Most puzzling of all, though, is why the United States seems so determined to eradicate Christianity in one of its oldest heartlands, at such an agonizingly sensitive historical moment.
Syria has always been a complex place religiously. Although the country has a substantial Sunni Muslim majority, it also has large minority communities—Christians, Alawites, and others—who together make up over a quarter of the population. Those communities have survived very successfully in Syria for centuries, but the present revolution is a threat to their continued existence.
Sadly, Westerners tend to assume that Arabs are, necessarily, Muslims, and moreover, that Muslims are a homogeneous bunch. Actually, 10 percent of Syrians are Alawites, members of a notionally Islamic sect that actually draws heavily from Christian and even Gnostic roots: they even celebrate Christmas. Locally, they were long known as Nusayris, “Little Christians.” Syria is also home to several hundred thousand Druze, who are even further removed from Sunni orthodoxy.
And then there are the Christians. If Christianity began in Galilee and Judea, it very soon made its cultural and intellectual home in Syria. St. Paul famously visited Damascus, and for centuries Antioch was one of the world’s greatest Christian centers. (The city today stands just over the Turkish border.) A sizable Christian population flourished under Islamic rule, and continued under the Ottomans. Muslim and Christian populations always interacted closely here. A shrine in Damascus’s Great Mosque claims to be the location of John the Baptist’s head.
Christian numbers fluctuated dramatically over time. A hundred years ago, “Syria,” broadly defined, was home to a large and diverse Christian population, including Catholics, Orthodox, and Maronites. In the 1920s, the French arbitrarily carved out the country’s most Christian sections and designated that region “Lebanon,” with its capital at Beirut.
In theory, that partition should have drawn a clear line between Christian Lebanon and non-Christian Syria. But Syria itself was changing in the aftermath of the catastrophic events of the First World War. The year 1915 marked the beginning of the horrendous genocide of perhaps 1.5 million Armenians, as well as hundreds of thousands of Assyrians, Maronites, and other Christian groups. After the war, Christians increasingly concentrated in Syria, where they benefited from French protection.
Arab Christians, though, were anything but imperial puppets. Determined to avoid a repetition of the horrors of 1915, Christians struggled to create a new political order in which they could play a full role. This meant advocating fervent Arab nationalism, a thoroughly secular order in which Christians and other minorities could avoid being overwhelmed by the juggernaut power of Sunni Islam. All Arab peoples, regardless of faith, would join in a shared passion for secular modernity and pan-Arab patriotism, in stark contrast to reactionary Islamism. The pioneering theorist of modern Arab nationalism was Damascus-born Orthodox Christian Constantine Zureiq. Another Orthodox son of Damascus was Michel Aflaq, co-founder of the Ba’ath (Renaissance) Party that played such a pivotal role in the modern history of both Iraq and Syria.
Since the 1960s, Syria has been a Ba’athist state, which in practice has meant the hegemony of the religious minorities who dominate the country’s military and intelligence apparatus. Hafez al-Assad (President from 1971 through 2000) was of course an Alawite, but by the 1990s, five of his seven closest advisers were Christian. His son Bashar is the current president, and America’s nemesis in the region.
Quite apart from their political influence, Christians have done very well indeed in modern Syria. Although they try to avoid drawing too much attention, it is no secret that Aleppo (for instance) has a highly active Christian population. Christian numbers have even grown significantly since the 1990s, as Iraqis fled the growing chaos in that country. Officially, Christians today make up around 10 percent of Syria’s people, but that is a serious underestimate, as it omits so many refugees, not to mention thinly disguised crypto-believers. A plausible Christian figure is at least 15 percent, or three million people.
To describe the Ba’athist state’s tolerance is not, of course, to justify its brutality, or its involvement in state-sanctioned crime and international terrorism. But for all that, it has sustained a genuine refuge for religious minorities, of a kind that has been snuffed out elsewhere in the region. Although many Syrian Christians favor democratic reforms, they know all too well that a successful revolution would almost certainly put in place a rigidly Islamist or Salafist regime that would abruptly end the era of tolerant diversity. Already, Christians have suffered terrible persecution in rebel-controlled areas, with countless reports of murder, rape, and extortion.
Under its new Sunni rulers, minorities would likely face a fate like that in neighboring Iraq, where the Christian share of population fell from 8 percent in the 1980s to perhaps 1 percent today. In Iraq, though, persecuted believers had a place to which they could escape, namely Syria. Where would Syrian refugees go?
A month ago, that question was moot, as the Assad government was gaining the upper hand over the rebels. At worst, it seemed, the regime could hold on to a rump state in Syria’s west, a refuge for Alawites, Christians, and others. And then came the alleged gas attack, and the overheated U.S. response.
So here is the nightmare. If the U.S., France, and some miscellaneous allies strike at the regime, they could conceivably so weaken it that it would collapse. Out of the ruins would emerge a radically anti-Western regime, which would kill or expel several million Christians and Alawites. This would be a political, religious, and humanitarian catastrophe unparalleled since the Armenian genocide almost exactly a century ago.
Around the world, scholars and intellectual leaders are debating how to commemorate the approaching centennial of that cataclysm in 2015. Through its utter lack of historical awareness, the United States government may be pushing towards not a commemoration of the genocide but a faithful re-enactment.
Even at this late moment, can they yet be brought to see reason?
Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University and serves as Co-Director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion.

France : quatre membres d'une cellule islamiste radicale interpellés à Paris

Les quatre individus interpellés étaient âgés de 23 à 33 ans.
Les quatre individus interpellés étaient âgés de 23 à 33 ans. © AFP
Quatre Français, membres présumés d'une cellule islamiste radicale, ont été interpellés jeudi à Paris. Certains projettaient de se rendre en Syrie pour mener le jihad.
Les quatre hommes, de nationalité française, ont été interpellés, jeudi 6 septembre, à Paris, par des policiers de la Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI).
Âgés de 23 à 33 ans, ces quatre individus faisaient partie d'une cellule islamiste radicale présumée de 12 personnes, qui étaient suivies depuis à peu près un an par la DCRI et la direction du renseignement de la Préfecture de Paris. Selon une source policière, la tête du réseau fait partie des personnes interpellées.
Certains d'entre eux avaient attaqué, il y a quelques jours, un Quick à Coignières (banlieue ouest de Paris). D'après la source policière, ce braquage devait leur permettre de financer un éventuel départ pour mener le jihad en Syrie, où une partie des membres du groupe est déjà parti combattre.
(Avec AFP)

La sélection nationale Algerienne de boules boycotte un match face à Israël et se fait éliminer du Monde

Boules Algérie Tirage

La sélection nationale des sports de boules junior s’est faite éliminer la semaine dernière du Mondial après avoir décidé de ne pas jouer le match contre Israël.

Le Mondial junior de boules avait lieu dans la ville française de Montauban jusqu’au 1er septembre. L’Algérie, qualifiée pour les huitièmes de finale, devait se mesurer à Israël. Mais notre quator,  composé de Douar Mustapha, Bouzlifa Seif Islem, Semmar Brahim et Dounayib Nazim, a préféré boycotter la rencontre. Résultat : l’Algérie a été disqualifiée, Israël s’est qualifié d’office pour les quarts.

Pourtant, à en croire la Fédération Algérienne des Sports de Boule, l’équipe algérienne était l’une des favorites pour le titre. Son président, Abdelaziz Rih, a déclaré, sur les colonnes du quotidien arabophone Echourouk que « en application des orientations du Ministère de la jeunesse et des sports, la Fédération a décidé de retirer la sélection après avoir su que l’Algérie a hérité d’Israël aux huitièmes de final. »

C’est la première fois qu’un président de fédération affirme que l’instruction était venue de la tutelle. Si la décision de retrait est assumée, c’est parce que les sports de boules ne sont pas vraiment médiatisés. Dans d’autres disciplines, le judo par exemple, si le tirage imposait Israël à un athlète algérien, ce dernier se retirait en évoquant, dans la majorité des cas, un souci de santé.

Il n’est pas nécessaire de rappeler que les Algériens se retirent systématiquement des différentes compétitions internationales dès que leur adversaire est israélien. La seule exception concerne le judoka Amar Meridja qui avait combattu en 2004, lors des Jeux olympiques, contre un israélien. A la veille des JO de 2012, le Comité international olympique (CIO) avait avertit l’Algérie contre une telle attitude.

Questionné à ce sujet, le Président de l’époque du Comité olympique algérien (COA), le professeur Rachid Hanifi, avait indiqué que c’est aux autorités de prendre une telle décision. En d’autres termes, ce n’est pas au COA de prendre le risque d’éliminer l’Algérie de toutes les compétitions internationales. D’où cette attitude de déclarer forfait pour cause médicale dès que le tirage offre un adversaire israélien à l’Algérie.

Dans un autre registre, le réalisateur Merzak Allouache est au centre d’une polémique pour le maintien de son film “Les Terrasses” au festival de Venise face à une réalisation israélienne.

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