Free Syrian Army Presses Trump Administration to Restore Aid

Representatives of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) visited Washington last week, seeking a restoration of U.S. military aid that was cut off last summer.

Four officials from the FSA, which fought alongside Syria's former Al-Qaida branch at various times, met with members of Congress, a White House official and the State Department.

They emphasized the threat to Syria posed by Iran and Russia.

"We asked for the resumption of aid and explained the dangers of leaving moderate FSA forces without support," Mustafa Sejari, a founder of the FSA's Al-Mu'tsim Brigade told Reuters.

Sejari denied that the FSA had links to the Muslim Brotherhood despite evidence of Brotherhood-linked militias in its ranks.

U.S. weaponry provided by the CIA frequently found its way into the hands of Syria's former al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, now called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), and other jihadists. In addition, $500 million spent by the Obama administration to train up to 5,000 FSA fighters was shut down in 2015 after successfully training only five men, Foreign Policy reported in 2016.

Sejari sought Russian support against ISIS in 2016 and greeted the Turks as "allies" when they sent troops into Syria's northwestern Idlib province in October. Opponents accuse them of being controlled by the Turks, and this trip comes as Turkey increases its military pressure against the Kurdish enclave in northwestern Syria.

The Muslim Brotherhood-linked Syrian American Council (SAC), which lobbied the Obama administration for deeper involvement in Syria, paid for the trip. The SAC notably condemned the U.S. classification of Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group in 2012 because it fought alongside the FSA at the time. It also criticizes U.S. support for the Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces, which kicked ISIS out of Raqqa and most of northeastern Syria last year.

Many FSA factions sided with HTS at times, while fighting it at others, throughout the Syrian conflict before the former al-Qaida group turned on them last year.

"We cannot differentiate between fighters whether they are Al Nusra, Ahrar Al Sham or the Free Syrian Army," Anas al-Abdeh, former president of the U.S.-backed National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces that includes FSA representatives told the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat in 2016.

A faction called Jabhat al-Shamiyah, also known as the Levant Front, was represented in the delegation. It sided with Al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, another jihadist group with al-Qaida roots, against the Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in a December 2016 battle in northwestern Syria.

Policymakers should recall the FSA's double-dealing before taking them seriously.

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By John Rossomando  |  January 19, 2018 at 11:04 am  |  Permalink

Palestinian President's Call for "Peaceful Popular Resistance" Defies Reality

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has issued another veiled, public call for violence and terrorism against Israelis.

Abbas called on Palestinians to continue "peaceful popular resistance," in a speech at the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Central Council meeting on Sunday, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reports.

The problem is that the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not actually advocate for "quiet protest" through "peaceful means," as Abbas claims. Abbas knew that the world would be watching his remarks at the latest PLO meeting, and decided to put up a more moderate face when describing Palestinian "resistance."

In reality, Abbas and the PA systematically promote violence and attacks against Israelis. The Palestinian leadership often uses the code word "popular resistance" in reference to individual terror initiatives – which has emerged as the norm in Palestinian terrorism recently.

During his Jan. 14 address, Abbas also seemed to have threatened U.S. President Donald Trump, saying: "May your house be destroyed."

On Tuesday, the United States announced that it would withhold roughly half the aid originally allocated for the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA) – a UN agency dedicated solely to serve the Palestinians. UNRWA-run schools in the Palestinian territories feature textbooks that demonize Jews and encourage Palestinian youth to embrace suicide terrorism.

Palestinian figures are escalating their war of words with the U.S. administration, still enraged by the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Palestinian leaders have been disappointed since President Trump warned Abbas to cease inciting violence and raised concerns over the PA's program of paying terrorists and their families.

According to statistics released by Israel's foreign ministry on Wednesday, Palestinians conducted 54 terrorist attacks in 2017. Another 400 attacks were foiled. The vast majority of terrorist attacks against Israelis in recent years are perpetrated by individuals, not organized groups. This phenomenon is largely motivated by the "PA's strategy of 'popular resistance' (i.e., popular terrorism) adopted by the PA and Fatah at the Sixth Fatah conference in August 2009."

Since that conference, 112 Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian terrorism fueled by PA and Fatah incitement.

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By IPT News  |  January 18, 2018 at 3:32 pm  |  Permalink

Financial Desperation Leads ISIS to Sell its Own Coins Online

Facing financial setbacks, the Islamic State (ISIS) is turning to more unorthodox methods for raising money: selling its own currency on the web. A new Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Terrorism Center report cites an ISIS publication from last month touting the terrorist group's minted coins.

"One of the news sites [on the Internet] published an advertisement [for] the purchase of every [type] of dinar currency minted by the Islamic State. The website notes that payment for the coins is via PayPal," an article in ISIS's Haqq publication said.

During its rise, the terrorist group's "Ministry of Finance" minted coins and regulated a new currency to be used in the territories under ISIS control. With the fall of its territorial caliphate, ISIS is trying to sell the coins as memorabilia and use the proceeds to finance future operations.

ISIS previously exploited PayPal and eBay to send money to its recruits. An August Wall Street Journal report outlines how the Islamic State sent money to an operative based in the United States, relying on phony eBay sales to hide financial transfers. Through PayPal, ISIS transferred roughly $8,700 to U.S. citizen and ISIS supporter Mohamed Elshinawy, who was pretending to sell computer printers. According to an FBI investigation, Elshinawy was meant to use the money for "operational purposes" – including potential terrorist attacks – in the United States.

This incident sheds light on an international ISIS financial network that relied on similar tactics to fund operations worldwide.

ISIS ran a well-functioning bureaucracy with clearly defined roles including rigorous financial management. It maintained a sophisticated payroll system for its fighters and generated money from state-like functions like taxation.

Terrorists often diversify their funding sources to support their nefarious activities, including various forms of criminal operations. For years, ISIS has relied on counterfeiting and other criminal activity to fund operations.

Now, facing even more financial pressure, ISIS is showing greater signs of desperation by resorting to creating and selling its own money.

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By IPT News  |  January 11, 2018 at 2:51 pm  |  Permalink

"Moderate" Palestinian Factions Praise Father's Murder as an "Operation"

Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) framed yesterday's terrorist attack that killed a civilian father of six as a successful "operation," Palestinian Media Watch reports.

Late on Tuesday, while driving near Nablus, Rabbi Raziel Shevach was shot in the neck from a passing vehicle. Shevach was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. A manhunt is underway for the perpetrator(s).

Fatah glorified the attack as a professional assassination from a "skilled and experienced" Palestinian.

"The Nablus operation in numbers: The full duration of the operation: 30 seconds. The distance between the cars: 20 meters. The number of bullets that were fired: 22. The one who carried out the operation was skilled and experienced, and escaped the site. The result: a killed settler," reads today's post on Fatah's official Facebook account.

The official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, also ran an article referring to the attack as a "shooting operation," making it sound like military activity instead of what the incident really was: the murder of an Israeli civilian.

Both Fatah and the PA called the victim a "settler." Palestinian factions of all stripes consistently refer to Israelis as settlers regardless of if they live in pre-1967 Israel or the territories. This is a subtle, yet effective, way to legitimize and encourage attacks targeting Israelis wherever they reside. The PA even refers to murdered tourists visiting Israel as "settlers," including U.S. citizen Taylor Force who was killed in Tel Aviv last year.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn Shevach's murder. So far, there is silence from Abbas. America's ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, also chimed in, highlighting the PA's financial incentive system that continues to encourage terrorism.

"An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace. Praying for the bereaved Shevach family," Amb. Friedman tweeted.

Palestinian terrorists and their families receive far higher government payments than welfare recipients.

Today, a terrorist's socioeconomic status is not factored into the salaries. Payments to released prisoners and jailed Palestinians are based on the length of a prison sentence, reflects their action's severity. The more brutal the attack or murder, the more money a Palestinian prisoner gets.

According to statistics released by Israel's foreign ministry on Wednesday, Palestinians conducted 54 terrorist attacks in 2017. Another 400 attacks were foiled. The vast majority of terrorist attacks against Israelis in recent years are perpetrated by individuals, not organized groups. This phenomenon is largely motivated by the "PA's strategy of 'popular resistance' (i.e., popular terrorism) adopted by the PA and Fatah at the Sixth Fatah conference in August 2009."

If the assailants responsible for Rabbi Shevach's death are brought to justice, their families should expect a hefty reward. The PA's glorification of terrorism and perverse financial incentives system will only encourage more attacks.

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By IPT News  |  January 10, 2018 at 1:34 pm  |  Permalink

Palestinian Authority Textbooks Still Demonizing Jews, Inciting Violence

Palestinian Authority (PA) schoolbooks remain devoted to systematically demonizing Jews and brainwashing generations of Palestinian children to glorify terrorism, a new study from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center finds.

Authors Arnon Groiss and Ronni Shaked examined more than 200 PA schoolbooks covering all grade levels over the past four years.

De-legitimizing Jews as a people with no rights to any part of Israel was a major theme.

"Britain was helped by the Jews to realize its imperialistic greedy ambitions and, therefore, Jews started immigrating to Palestine," an 11th grade textbook says.

The study found no discussions of Jews or Israelis as regular human beings in Palestinian textbooks – just blanket generalizations of Jews as "wolves and snakes" who migrated to Palestine to eliminate the Palestinian people.

Jewish people are consistently portrayed as Islam's enemies. The study's authors argue that this campaign of demonization is necessary to legitimize the importance of armed struggle against Israelis.

The texts often promote violence and terrorism across Israel. Cities in pre-1967 Israel, like Jaffa and Haifa, are listed as areas that must be liberated through armed conflict. Violent Islamic concepts, including jihad and martyrdom, are incorporated into Palestinian children's education as religious justifications for terrorism.

According to a grade 6 textbook: "When the Muslim believes that God is the one who gives life and death, is the source of profit and loss, and victory and power are in His hand, then he frees himself of the others' control, and bravery and the desire to die as a martyr in God's cause revive in his soul."

The concept of "shahid" (martyr) has been used to encourage Palestinian children to embrace suicide terrorist operations. PA textbooks try to mask explicit promotion of violence but endorse terrorism by praising Palestinians who have engaged in terror operations against Israelis, the study found.

"The teacher asked the students: 'How can we celebrate Independence Day this year?' Safa: 'Let us invite the families of the martyrs and the prisoners-of-war to honor them.' Imad: 'Let us commemorate [our] town's martyrs and prisoners-of-war by planting a tree in memory of every martyr'," reads a passage from the third grade civics schoolbook.

Virtually all references to Israelis or Jews are vehemently negative and consistently portray Israelis and Jews as an existential threat to Palestinians who need to be destroyed. Though the Palestinian leadership boasts of education reform, there is no reference to peace or coexistence with Israel in PA schoolbooks.

"It is apparent from these data that the PA schoolbooks prepare the students mentally and ideologically to a violent struggle for a future liquidation of State of Israel and its Jewish population," the authors conclude.

These findings corroborate previous research on Palestinian curriculum and schoolbooks that systematically glorify terrorism, deny Israel's right to exist, and encourage future generations to wage armed struggle. These themes have been propagated to Palestinian school children for decades and form the basis of Palestinian identity and societal attitudes, which remain deeply anti-Semitic and devoted to the destruction of Israel.

And the problem may be getting worse.

An April study by Hebrew University's Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education finds that the new curriculum for grades 1 to 4 "is significantly more radical than previous curricula."

Palestinian education is radicalizing entire generations and has a real impact on terrorism.

A Palestinian terrorist stabbed an Israeli security guard in the chest Dec. 10 in Jerusalem. Before attacking, the terrorist wrote a will featuring a martyr's quote found in PA textbooks, according to Israel's Shin Bet domestic security service.

It's hard to imagine a stable and lasting solution to the conflict without a complete revolution of the Palestinian education system.

Click here to access the full Meir Amit Center report.

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By IPT News  |  January 3, 2018 at 2:01 pm  |  Permalink

CAIR's Terror Ties an Issue in San Diego School Lawsuit

Terror ties and "hostility toward Israel" are directly relevant to a civil suit challenging the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) work with San Diego public schools, plaintiff's attorneys argued in court papers filed Friday.

CAIR helped the San Diego Unified School District develop an anti-bullying program. But five local families and two community groups sued last spring, claiming the program elevated Muslim students above others. The school board agreed to stop working with CAIR in July, acknowledging that CAIR is a religious group and the partnership may cross the line on church-state separation.

The ligation continues, however, and the school board asked the court last month to strike references to CAIR's anti-Israel positions and its connections to Hamas from the case, saying they were irrelevant.

The Anti-Defamation League, which took over the anti-bullying program after the board broke with CAIR last summer, has cited CAIR's "long record of anti-Israel activity," a response filed Friday by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) said. CAIR and its founders were part of a Hamas-support network in the U.S. during the 1990s, records seized by the FBI show.

The school district knew about CAIR's history before it was sued and had opportunities to disavow the organization, the FCDF response said.

"Contrary to what Defendants would have this Court believe, there is ample evidence demonstrating CAIR's harmful influence within the District, including its manipulation of instructional materials to advance their sectarian agenda," the FCDF wrote.

None of the cases the school district cited to justify removing the references to Israel or extremists "addresses a situation like this one, where a religious organization with an internationally reprehensible reputation functions as the ministerial arm of a government institution," the FCDF said.

Proselytizing is part of CAIR's religious mission, and it has chosen to use public schools as a forum for spreading its religious message under the cover of an anti-bullying program, the FCDF argued.

"Indeed, Nihad Awad, CAIR's National Executive Director, testified that 'informing the American public about the Islamic faith is a religious obligation and educational exercise,'" the FCDF said.

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By John Rossomando  |  January 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm  |  Permalink

Document Given to U.K. Allegedly Confirms Brotherhood's Terror Link

A document given to British authorities allegedly confirms Muslim Brotherhood financial support for terrorist groups, including the ISIS Sinai Province affiliate, Egypt Today reported.

But this alleged connection between ISIS Sinai Province and the Muslim Brotherhood should be taken with a grain of salt, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Samuel Tadros told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

"There is no evidence of an ISIS connection to the Muslim Brotherhood. We don't know that at all. It doesn't make sense. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the pre-ISIS organization, condemned the Muslim Brotherhood while they were still in power," Tadros said.

ISIS Sinai is a tribal Sinai-focused phenomenon. It mistrusts people from the Nile Valley, where most Egyptians live, and came under tight control of the ISIS leadership in Iraq and Syria, Tadros said. He dismissed former Egyptian security official Khaled Okasha, who has been a source of much of the effort to connect ISIS Sinai and the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian press as a "nutcase."

But British authorities last week designated two other groups mentioned in the report, Liwa al-Thawra and Hassm, as terrorist organizations based on an analysis of attacks against Egyptian security personnel and public figures, the British Embassy in Cairo announced last Friday.

The connection between Liwa al-Thawra, Hassm and the Muslim Brotherhood is independently verifiable and undeniable, Tadros said.

Liwa al-Thawra and Hassm reportedly evolved from a network of terror cells established by late Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau member Mohamed Kamal, who was killed in a shootout with Egyptian security forces last year. Liwa al-Thawra eulogized Kamal after his death and then assassinated Egyptian Army Brigadier-General Adel Regai Ismail in retaliation for Kamal's death. Hassm congratulated Ismail's killers.

Hassm claimed responsibility for an October attack against Myanmar's embassy in Cairo.

Hassm appears to have evolved from the Revolutionary Punishment Movement (RPM), Brotherhood researcher Mokhtar Awad, noted in an Oct. 3, 2016 Atlantic Council article. RPM has attacked police and military targets and received support on social media from American pro-Brotherhood activists. Hassm's justifications for its terror attacks are similar to those found in The Jurisprudence of Popular Resistance to the Coup, a book written by Islamic scholars close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Connections between Liwa al-Thawra, Hassm and the Muslim Brotherhood should be further investigated and taken into account in deciding whether the Egyptian Brotherhood should be classified as a terrorist group.

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By John Rossomando  |  December 28, 2017 at 3:54 pm  |  Permalink

Breaking News: Nazi/Islamist Guilty in ISIS Material Support Case

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former D.C. Metro Police officer who embraced both neo-Nazi and radical Islamist ideology was found guilty Monday of attempting to provide material support to ISIS and two counts of obstruction of justice.

Nicholas Young, 36, is scheduled to be sentenced in February. He could face up to 60 years in prison.

Evidence and testimony presented during last week's five-day trial showed Young supported both Nazism and Islamist terrorism – ideologies which share hatred for Jews.

The alliance between Nazism and Islamist terrorism against Jews is "based on the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend," testified expert witness Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. People are drawn to neo-Nazism and militant Islam for similar reasons, and "once you succumb to one of those ideologies, you become more prone to succumbing to the other ideology."

The verdict marks another failed attempt to blame federal law enforcement officials for entrapping an otherwise innocent man. To convict Young, jurors had to be convinced that he was predisposed to support ISIS before encountering any FBI informants, including those who served as prosecution witnesses.

Young's home and computer were littered with Nazi paraphernalia and radical Islamist material, some of it more than a decade old. That includes several pictures of Young and his associates in SS uniforms in front of a Nazi flag, a framed photo of Adolf Hitler, electronic copies of The Book of Jihad and issues of al-Qaida's Inspire Magazine. A 2006 photo showed Young seated in traditional Islamic garb holding a gun across his lap.

The obstruction counts stem from lies he told federal agents about a close associate who he believed had traveled to Syria to join ISIS. He also sent a text message meant to mislead investigators into thinking the friend went to Turkey instead of Syria. The associate was a government informant, and Young tried to give him gift card codes to help ISIS recruit new members from the West.

"Nicholas Young swore an oath to protect and defend, and instead violated the public's trust by attempting to support ISIS," said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Young's friends included radical Islamists – some of whom were later sentenced to long prison terms for plotting terror attacks and providing support to al-Qaida and Somalia's al Shabaab.

Young's co-worker, former Metro Transit Police Officer Joanne Dill, testified, "[h]e believed in the caliphate and thought it was a good thing for that part of the world."

He told an informant about his desire to obtain a slave. "You can measure someone's predisposition even from the way they act now. A police officer in Washington, D.C., says I want a slave," Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg told jurors Friday.

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By Abha Shankar  |  December 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm  |  Permalink

CAIR's Hamas Connections Irrelevant, San Diego Schools Claim

Connections between the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Hamas, or CAIR's anti-Israel stance, are not relevant to a lawsuit seeking to block San Diego's Unified School District (SDUSD) from working with CAIR, the school district argues in court papers.

In its lawsuit, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) cites "CAIR's longstanding ties to Islamic extremist groups such as Hamas, which is opposed to Jewish statehood and which calls for the elimination of all Jews."

"These allegations have no bearing on Plaintiffs' claims against Defendants, and are only included to inflame the public against SDUSD by its association with CAIR," the school district's lawyers wrote last week.

They also claim that mentioning of CAIR's Hamas ties, which the FBI has acknowledged in writing, is "scandalous" and gives a "nefarious" character to the school district's relationship with CAIR, which involved an anti-bullying campaign.

Internal records seized by the FBI from members of a Hamas-support network to support Hamas in the United States show CAIR was under the network's umbrella. CAIR's co-founders also were included on a telephone list of "Palestine Committee" members. In addition, witnesses told the FBI that CAIR was founded to aid Hamas.

The school district agreed to stop working with CAIR last July because CAIR's executive director acknowledged it is a primarily a religious organization, creating constitutional challenges for a governmental body..

The school district's motion also complains that the FCDF failed to explain how CAIR's Hamas ties affected the instructional materials used by the school district.

"By incorporating these politically charged claims – Plaintiffs' clear intent is to attack CAIR on impertinent matters and hope that the scandalous nature of these allegations will confuse the relevant issues and reflect poorly on SDUSD. This is not allowed," the district's motion said.

FCDF Executive Director Dan Piedra dismissed the district's claim as a "delaying tactic." "To say that our claims lack factual support at this stage of the litigation is inappropriate," Piedra said. At this point in the litigation courts assume that what the plaintiffs say is true.

FCDF's claims about CAIR's Hamas ties and anti-Israel stance is relevant, Piedra said, because the group already helped shaped the curriculum and replace textbooks it didn't like. This could lead to CAIR censoring textbooks that run contrary to its narrative about the Palestinians.

He dismissed the school district's assertion that including reference to CAIR's Hamas ties in his suit prejudiced the school district, saying the district already has accomplished this by working with CAIR. The jury will never see any of FCDF's claims in its lawsuit; consequently, Piedra sees no chance the paragraphs about CAIR's Hamas ties would prejudice the case's outcome.

"Their arguments are scattershot and doggedly resistant to seeing why parents are aghast that they are defending CAIR because this organization that has indisputable ties to terrorism and a history of anti-Semitic statements," Piedra said.

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By John Rossomando  |  December 18, 2017 at 10:31 am  |  Permalink

Fatah Continues Promoting Violent Protests Over Jerusalem Announcement

Fatah continues encouraging Palestinians to engage in violent protests and "continue the intifada" against Israel following President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Palestinian Media Watch reports.

"It is necessary to continue the intifada and escalate it, and to see days of popular rage in the coming days," read one post last week from Fatah's armed wing.

On Monday, Fatah's official Facebook page openly incited Palestinians to kill Jews: "I am coming towards you, my enemy, from every home, neighborhood, and street."

The text is actually a lyric, part of Fatah's terror promoting song that calls for Palestinians "going down from every house with cleavers and knives with grenades ..."

Multiple Fatah posts have also featured pictures of Palestinians armed with rocks and slingshots.

Click here to see PMW's latest compilation of Fatah's incitement.

These statements by the ruling Palestinian Authority party provide concrete evidence that Palestinian protests are not simply the result of spontaneous reaction to President Trump's Jerusalem announcement. Fatah is directly responsible for fueling and organizing violent protests against Israel.

To encourage mass mobilization, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority widely promote a complete historical denial of any Jewish connection to Jerusalem in recent days.

Western observers expect designated terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah to call for armed confrontation with Israel, particularly following a major diplomatic announcement concerning Jerusalem. But it is important to stress that the so-called moderate wing of the Palestinian national movement is just as culpable in promoting violence against Israelis.

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By IPT News  |  December 14, 2017 at 12:58 pm  |  Permalink

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