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Mosul attack: IS cuts off city’s communication

Mosul: Islamic State jihadists in the Iraqi city of Mosul are preparing for an assault from government forces by cutting phone lines and banning residents from fleeing the city.

Residents and refugees from Iraq’s second-largest city have told the Daily Telegraph how conditions have deteriorated, as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant comes under increasing pressure from a government fightback.

“You have to bring a guarantor to say you will come back in ten days,” said Ghazwan, a Mosul resident recently arrived in Baghdad. He asked for his full name to be withheld. “If you don’t come back, they are punished.”

He said he discovered this new rule when a friend could not bring his mother to Baghdad for an operation and she died. “People are trying to leave Mosul,” he said. “They closed the hospitals because they have no electricity or water.”

The decision to impose restrictions on residents who wish to leave the city has not been explained but appears to be an attempt to stop mass flight.

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When Isil arrived in Mosul in June, many Sunni residents welcomed the group, thinking it would be preferable to the Shia-led government of then prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, which they regarded as brutal and sectarian.

One immediate advantage was that the bombings carried out by the jihadists stopped, and the roads were open and safe for the first time for years, Ghazlan and other residents said.

Minorities such as Christians mostly fled. Those Christians that did not were given a two-day ultimatum in July to convert or leave.

However, since then, the group has courted unpopularity even with the Sunni population by imposing harsh rules of conduct and in particular by blowing up the city’s best-known mosque, which was also the tomb of the Prophet Jonah, saying worship at a shrine was idolatrous.

The subsequent hardships, such as the lack of electricity and the shutdown of the mobile phone network last month, have added to residents’ difficulties. Another resident still in the city, who asked not to be named, said that the phones had been cut off as a security measure – Isil feared residents were phoning in their positions to the government.

Isil has begun training young men and even boys to join its forces, according to videos the group has released online, as schools are segregated and “Islamised”.

Isil positions around the city have come under attack from the air strikes by the United States and other members of the coalition ranged against it. The Pentagon said the coalition had struck 20 Isil targets in Iraq, including in Mosul, in three days last week.

Iraqi media said another 18 Isil fighters were killed in air strikes near Mosul Dam on Sunday.

However, despite Isil’s apparent concerns, there is no sign of an immediate attack on the city. Government forces, backed by Shia militia, have made some gains in the last two weeks, including relieving a siege on the oil refinery at Baiji, Iraq’s largest, between Baghdad and Mosul, but are not thought to have sufficient control of the road further north to launch an assault.

The United States has implied that it does not think the Iraqi army will be in a position to retake major Sunni Arab areas of Isil control, such as Mosul and the province of Anbar, for many months. It says it wants to organise a major training scheme first.

The British government, in announcing a further deployment of hundreds of troops to Baghdad and Erbil to train local forces over the weekend, also suggested that a delay was likely.

“The situation in Iraq is still chaotic,” said Hunain Qaddo, an MP for Mosul from the Shabak, a mostly Shia minority group, now in internal exile in Baghdad. He said there were still disputes over strategy among government leaders, and between the government and the Americans. “Our leaders are not working together,” he said.

  • Published in Middle-East
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Female Saudi nurses ‘excel at their jobs despite pressures’

Abha: A recent report has revealed that Saudi nurses are excelling at their jobs despite social pressure and other biases toward the profession and garnering good reviews from the patients. 
With almost 70 percent of the nursing sector dominated by expatriates, the study, a first-of-its-kind, indicated through scientific research papers that an overwhelming majority of patients are satisfied with the performance of Saudi nurses.
The study conducted by Dr. Haya Al-Fozan, head of the Nursing College at King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University included patient interviews and chats with their accompanying members.
Of the 302 people surveyed, there were 149 patients and 153 accompanying members.
The study funded by the King Abdullah International Medical Research Center University was conducted simultaneously at the King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz Medical City in Jeddah, King Abdulaziz Hospital in Al-Ahsa, and Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal Hospital in Dammam. 
The study appeared in the December issue of the American publication, “Journal of Natural Sciences Research” and was highly appreciated by readers at King Saud University.
According to the results of the study, 80 percent expressed satisfaction with Saudi nurses’ knowledge of the nursing profession and ability to provide correct information; 89.4 percent confirmed their satisfaction with the clinical skills; 89 percent expressed satisfaction with the care provided by the nurses while 95.4 percent indicated satisfaction with the communication skills; 90 percent confirmed their satisfaction with the Saudi nurses’ decision-making abilities, and 93.4 percent expressed satisfaction with parents’ involvement in the care of the patient. Finally, 92 percent confirmed that they were satisfied with the nurses’ professional behavior. 
Alia Mohammed, a Saudi nurse said that the nursing profession has social and humanitarian aspects, which makes it ideal for women globally. “But there are long hours and it is especially difficult for working mothers who often can’t find babysitters for their children while they are away,” Mohammed told Arab News.
Other challenges involve lack of experience and training programs as well as poor English language skills.
Salma Al-Shahri said that the challenge for women begins when they decide to join the profession. “Often, families object to the profession. Also, the nursing curriculum is difficult. Finally, when one is able to find a job, there are problems because of the long working hours,” she said.

Expats’ fingerprinting expedited

Riyadh: The Passport Department has expedited the fingerprint registration of sponsors and residents accompanied by dependents above 15 ahead of the Jan. 21 deadline.
“Those who have failed to get their fingerprints registered risk denial of access to all passport department services including the request for an exit-re-entry visa during an emergency,” said the spokesman of the department, Maj. Ahmad bin Fahd Al-Luhaidan.
He added that the only service that could be availed without fingerprints was the iqama renewals for female members of the family but even this would be required after the deadline is over. “All services will now be fully online,” he stressed.
Al-Luhaidan told Arab News that the department has completed linking the fingerprint registration with all passport services including iqama issuance and renewal, exit-re-entry visas, change of profession and information transfers.
The department has mobilized all its passport offices across the Kingdom to take fingerprint registrations, he said.
It also worked to deploy mobile units for this purpose to facilitate people living in remote locations in addition to providing an online fingerprint checking service for residents, he said.

Notorious thief arrested by CCB police

Madikeri: Kodagu district crime branch officers arrested a person involved in many robbery cases in the district in Bekal fort in Kasargod and seized the stolen items.

T.H Abdul Khader, resident of Chettalli Malnod was hiding in Kerala. On credible information crime branch police raided the place and arrested the accused. Another accused in the case, Suresh, resident of Nanjarayapattana in Udupi was arrested by police a few days ago.

In 2012 the accused robbed the valuables from the houses of Ballaranda Kalappa near Chettalli and Aymanda Gopala of Maragod and in 2013 they broke into the godown in Vaddaramadu in Badaga Banangala and fled away with pepper.
  • Published in Coorg
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