In The News Today: Beatles Producer Passes Away, US Strikes ISIS Chemical Weapons Program, & More
U.S. captures leader of ISIS chemical weapons program. Sleiman Daoud al-Afari, detained in Iraq under interrogation, gave information with regards to how the Islamic state had managed to weaponize mustard gas: loading its powderized form into artillery shells. According to a report from The New York Times, al-Afari used to be a chemical and biological weapons expert at Saddam Hussein’s Military Industrialization Authority. He is now considered a “significant” ISIS operative.
Young Danish girl charged with planning terrorist attacks. The 16-year-old was planning to launch terrorist attacks in two schools, one of which was Jewish. Moreover, Danish police said she had intended to use chemical bombs. According to Independent.ie, the young girl was charged along with her 24-year-old friend, who been a fighter in Syria and was helping prepare the bombs.
U.S. works to isolate Raqqa from ISIS. The Pentagon says that coalition forces are now working aggressively to isolate the city of Raqqa in Syria in order to disrupt ISIS control. Raqqa and the city of Mosul in Iraq has been known as Islamic State strongholds for some time now.
“This is all part of tightening the noose on ISIL in Syria,” Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained. Meanwhile, according to Aleppo 24, ISIS had transferred its “important commanders” to Raqqa last month. Among them is Abu Harith Iraqi, who is said to be the Aleppo governor.
Police in northern Sweden warn women about series of recent attacks. “We have seen a worrying trend,” explained regional police chief Stephen Jerand. Since February 20, there have been at least six reports of violence against women in Östersund. This prompted police to issue a warning for women against going out at night.
However, The Local reports that the warning is causing a backlash. It faces harsh criticism in a country that steadfastly promotes gender equality. In an interview with a Swedish broadcaster SVT, city mayor Ann-Sofie Andersson said she wishes she had been advised by police about their intentions before issuing the warning.
John Kerry marks remembers Robert Levinson on the ninth anniversary of his disappearance. The Secretary of State made a statement to reaffirm the country’s commitment in locating the missing former FBI agent and bringing him home. He also said he expects Iran to assist the U.S. in making this possible. “We are holding Iran to its promise,” Kerry added.
Beatles producer Sir George Martin dies. The man who was also known as the “fifth Beatle” passed away in his home on Tuesday. He was 90. Beatles Drummer Ringo Starr announced Martin’s passing on Twitter, saying, “God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family.” Meanwhile, Beatles singer Paul McCartney posted a tribute to the late producer on his website. According to the BBC, Martin had decided to sign the Beatles after hearing their demo tape in 1962. He produced more than 700 records.