MIDDLE EAST

Iraq

10 June It was reported that Turkey are investigating reports that 28 Turkish truck drivers ferrying diesel from Iskenderun, Turkey, to Mosul had been abducted by militants from the Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, an al Qaeda affiliate. An official at Ikra Logisitics, a trucking company based in the southern Turkish city of Adana which ships diesel to Mosul, said it had lost contact with some of their drivers.

11 June Members of the Islamist terrorist group, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) seized the Turkish consulate in Mosul and kidnapped 49 Turkish citizens including the head of the diplomatic mission, guards and three children.

17 June Indian officials in the country reported that they had lost contact with about 40 construction workers on a project in Mosul that was overrun by ISIL/ISIS militants. The workers are thought to have been kidnapped.

18 June Fifteen Turkish construction workers building a hospital at Dor, near Kirkuk, were among 60 foreigners including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Turkmenistan nationals, abducted by ISIS militants less than a week after dozens of other Turkish nationals were kidnapped in Mosul.

29 June Security officials said that militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) had kidnapped 26 people in the province of Salah al-Din, 170 kilometres north of Baghdad. The victims were mainly security personnel.

30 June The Indian government increased efforts to evacuate nationals from Iraq where at least 39 Indians are being held by ISIS militants. Officials said that three Air India planes are on standby to fly to Iraq at short notice. Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj held a meeting with India’s envoys to Gulf countries as well as ambassadors from those countries to hear their assessments on the situation in Iraq. The Foreign Minister later told journalists that the Red Crescent had spoken to Indian nationals in Iraq and reported back that they are safe.

Israel

12 June Three Israeli teenagers, Gil-Ad Shaer (16), Eyal Yifrah (19) and Naftali Frankel (16), one of whom is also a US citizen, who study in the West Bank were kidnapped by Palestinians. The three were hitchhiking to their West Bank settlement homes. On 18 June, Mahmoud al-Aloul, a veteran member of the Fatah Central Committee, wrote on the official Fatah Facebook page: “Let’s think well of growing possibility that all what’s happening is a play that wasn’t produced well and that no one was kidnapped in the first place”. On 22 June, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas is behind the kidnapping and he will provide proof for this claim soon. On 24 June, the mothers of all three victims flew to Geneva where Rachel Frankel addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council to appeal for support for the return of the three boys. On 26 June, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed the identity of the two chief suspects wanted for involvement in the kidnapping. They were named as Marwan Kawasme and Aar Abu Aysha, both from Hebron and longstanding Hamas members. On 30 June, the bodies of the three victims were found at Wadi Tellem, Halhul, near Hebron in a shallow grave. Reports said that the boys seem to have been killed soon after they were kidnapped. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at an emergency meeting of the Security Cabinet: “they were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals. Hamas is responsible – and Hamas will pay”. Mushir al-Masri, Hamas spokesman, said the kidnapping was “an activity that failed”. While Hamas had previously denied any involvement, the statement sounds like an admission although al-Masri did not take responsibility. A recording of a call made by Gil-Ad Shaer to police on the night of the kidnapping was released in which he is heard to say “They kidnapped me” followed by shouts and shots.

20 June A smartphone application that non-profit emergency medical service organisation United Hatzalah uses to communicate with its thousands of medics, is being offered to the general population in case of trouble such as attempted kidnappings. With a swipe on the smartphone app a call goes out to police and also alerts Hatzalah’s despatch centre.

30 June It was reported that 60,000 Israelis had already downloaded the one-swipe emergency alert application that had been offered free to the public by United Hatzalah. The app uses GPS technology to track a person’s location and optimises response time by the security forces. Previously the security forces had to go through a lengthy legal process to obtain permission to track a person’s cell phone but, by swiping the app, the person gives instant permission to the security forces to track their cell phone.

Lebanon

10 June An armed group of Syrians kidnapped eleven people, nine Syrians and two Lebanese, from a quarry on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek village. Three of the victims, all Syrian Kurds, managed to escape and seven other victims were later released. The owner of the quarry, Mikhael Mourad, was kept by the kidnappers. Residents of the village said the kidnappers were members of the al Qaeda linked Nusra Front.

Syria

11 June An Australian Jihadist fighting in Syria who is a business graduate from the Gold Coast’s Bond University, has called upon Moslems to kidnap Western “VIPs” and demand the release of jailed Islamic militants in exchange.

20 June Daniel Rye Ottosen (25), a Danish freelance photographer, was freed after being kidnapped on 17 May 2013 while travelling in the country to “document the conflict and the living conditions of civilians especially children”. Sources close to the family said that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was responsible for the kidnapping and a ransom was paid for the victim’s release. Danish media reported that Ottosen was a former elite gymnast and his family had appealed to gymnastic groups to contribute towards the ransom payment.

Yemen

9 June Tribesmen kidnapped a foreign manager working for a US oil company. The manager and his two bodyguards were kidnapped in Marib province while driving to Sana’a.

29 June The Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry stated that Ayedh bin Jibran Mikali, a Saudi citizen, had been freed by his kidnappers after “huge and painful efforts” to secure his release. The ministry gave no details on when the victim was kidnapped or who had kidnapped him. Saudi media reported that Mikali had been kidnapped by a Yemeni tribe but gave no further details.

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