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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, January 18, 2018

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Saudi king attacks Islamic militants as Ramadan begins

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi King Abdullah on Sunday slammed religious extremists, vowing not to let "a handful of terrorists... terrify Muslims", in a speech marking the start of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The king in his speech, carried by state news agency SPA, insisted that Islam is a "religion of unity, fraternity and mutual support" but some people "lured in by false calls... are confusing reform with terrorism".

"Their goal is to sow discord among Muslims," the monarch said in a clear reference to insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The powerful militant group has led an offensive by Sunni fighters in Iraq since June 9, wresting control of northern cities and capturing vast swathes of territory.

The group aims to establish a strict Islamic state between Syria and Iraq and poses a major threat to Saudi Arabia, which shares a more than 800 kilometre long border with Iraq.

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