Sun, May 28, 2017 | updated 08:25 AM IST

Syria's al-Nusra announces split from al-Qaeda

Updated: Jul 29, 2016 12:01 IST      
Syria's al-Nusra announces split from al-Qaeda

New York, July 29 (ANI): Abu Mohammad al-Golani, the leader of Syrian jihadist group Jabhat al Nusra, has in a video statement announced the group is severing ties with the al-Qaeda and changing its name to Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham.

Golani in his first video appearance said the new group will have "no affiliation to any external entity", reports CNN.

However, the U.S. officials quickly dismissed the rebranding as a public relations ploy.

The so-called breakup comes less than two weeks after Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S. and Russia had agreed to cooperate in Syria against al Nusra.

The decision was taken in an effort to restore the cessation of hostilities and significantly reduce violence in the war-ravaged country.

al-Qaeda has given the split its blessing, according to Ahmad Hasan Abu al Khayr al-Masri, who has been elevated as the second high in command in the terror group.

Masri would replace al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Zawahiri in a separate message also expressed support for the decoupling.

Meanwhile, Golani said the change does not represent an ideological split but is intended to remove the excuse used by the international community led by the U.S. and Russia to bombard and displace Muslims under the pretense of targeting Jabhat al Nusra.

The U.S. State Department had in 2012 added al Nusra to the list of aliases for al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The State Department has, however, said the change in name does not alter Washington's perception of the group.

"We judge any organization, including this one, much more by its actions, its ideology, its goals," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

He added, "We judge a group by what they do, not by what they call themselves. ... Thus far, there's no change to our views about this particular group. We certainly see no reasons to believe that their actions or their objectives are any different. And they are still considered a foreign terrorist organization." (ANI)

Russia, Turkey reaffirm commitment to deepen partnership

Updated: May 28, 2017 03:36 IST     

Moscow (Russia), May 28 (ANI): Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated mutual commitment on Saturday to deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries, the Kremlin said.

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Police release CCTV pictures of Manchester bomber

Updated: May 28, 2017 03:17 IST     

Manchester (UK), May 28 (ANI): Pictures of the Manchester bomber on his way to the arena where he carried out Britain's worst terrorist attack in 12 years have been released by police.

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Two killed in Portland after trying to stop anti-Muslim rant

Updated: May 28, 2017 03:03 IST     

Portland (Oregon), May 28 (ANI): Two men were stabbed to death and one injured on a light-rail train in Portland, Ore., after they tried to intervene when another passenger began "ranting and raving" and shouting anti-Muslim hate speech at two young women.

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Cairo (Egypt), May 28 (ANI): Egypt launched a fresh wave of air strikes against Libyan terrorist bases on Saturday in response to the killing of 29 Coptic Christians south of Cairo, with a warning of further retaliation possible.

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Taliban car bombing kills 12 in Afghanistan

Updated: May 28, 2017 02:36 IST     

Kabul (Afghanistan), May 28 (ANI): A large Taliban explosion targeting an elite Afghan militia force that has worked closely with the C.I.A. killed at least a dozen people on Saturday in the eastern part of the country.

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Musical legend Gregg Allman passes away at 69

Updated: May 28, 2017 01:51 IST     

Georgia (U.S.), May 28 (ANI): Gregg Allman, the founding member of the Allman Brothers Band who overcame family tragedy, drug addiction and health problems to become a grizzled elder statesman for the blues music he loved passed away at 69.

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Former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning dies at 85

Updated: May 28, 2017 01:42 IST     

Washington DC (US), May 28 (ANI): Former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning, the only National Baseball Hall of Fame member ever to serve in Congress, has died at the age of 85.

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London (UK), May 27 (ANI): The British Airways has canceled all Saturday flights from London's two biggest airports after "a major IT system failure" caused severe disruption to flight operations worldwide.

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London [U.K.], May 27 (ANI): The G 7 leaders, in their final communique, have said that the summit in Italy has failed to bridge differences over climate change after United States President Donald Trump remained non-committal over the Paris Agreement.

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Panjgur [Pakistan], May 27 (ANI): A Pakistan man was reportedly killed after a mortar shell was fired allegedly by Iranian border guards in Balochistan's Panjgur district on Saturday, a government official said.

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Islamabad [Pakistan], May 27 (ANI): The first round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Practical Cooperation Dialogue was held in Beijing on Saturday in which the three sides exchanged in-depth views on trilateral cooperation in a friendly atmosphere and agreed to promote practical measures for cooperation.

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London [UK], May 27 (ANI): The terror threat level in United Kingdom has been reduced from "critical" to "severe" after temporarily raising the level in response to Manchester Arena attack in which 22 people were killed and several others injured.

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Trump to make final decision on Paris Accord next week

Updated: May 27, 2017 18:44 IST     

New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump has delayed his decision on the Paris Climate Accord, saying that he will make his final decision on it next week.

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Pak reopens Chaman Border crossing after 22 days

Updated: May 27, 2017 17:28 IST     

Rawalpindi [Pakistan], May 27 (ANI): Pakistan on Saturday opened the Friendship Gate at Chaman Border crossing on "humanitarian grounds" for Ramzan after remaining closed for 22 days in wake of the alleged Afghan attack in the country that claimed 12 lives.

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India to assist Sri Lanka in flood relief operations

Updated: May 27, 2017 17:20 IST     

Colombo [Sri Lanka], May 27 (ANI): As catastrophic landslides and floods hit parts of Sri Lanka, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed concerned departments to provide all necessary assistance to the country in its flood relief operations.

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New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth on Saturday reiterated his country unwavering support to India's legitimate aspiration for permanent membership of the United Nation Security Council (UNSC).

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Nevada: Passenger abused for speaking Spanish

Updated: May 27, 2017 14:09 IST     

Nevada [U.S.A], May 27 (ANI): The United States finds itself plunging deeper into intolerance, as another man found himself on the receiving end of a brutal racist tirade while waiting in the Reno airport, in Nevada.

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US to launch 'first ever' missile test to counter Pyongyang

Updated: May 27, 2017 13:50 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 27 (ANI): The Pentagon has announced plans to test its first-of-its-kind missile intercept in the next week that would involve shooting down an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) - similar to what North Korea recently launched.

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Police arrests two more Manchester attack suspects

Updated: May 27, 2017 13:43 IST     

London [UK], May 27 (ANI): British police on Saturday said that they have arrested two more suspects involved in the Manchester Arena terror attack in which 22 people were killed and 59 injured.

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Manchester terror attack: Two more suspects arrested

Updated: May 27, 2017 13:23 IST     

Manchester [UK], May 27 (ANI): Greater Manchester police have arrested two men from Cheetham Hill in connection to the Manchester terror blasts.

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