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KABUL, July 20, 2018 (MENA) - Four ِAfghan policemen were killed and six others injured in a Taliban attack on the center of Qarabagh district in southern Ghazni province, an official said on Friday.

Police Spokesman Farid Mashal told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Taliban stormed the Qarabagh district center on Thursday night.

The assailants wanted to capture the district center but security forces repulsed their attack, he said.

 

LONDON, July 19, 2018 (News Wires) - British police have identified several Russians who they believe were behind the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the Press Association reported on Thursday, citing a source close to the investigation.

Skripal, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain’s MI6 foreign spy service, and his daughter Yulia, were found unconscious on a public bench in the British city of Salisbury on March 4.

Britain blamed Russia for the poisonings and identified the poison as Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s. Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack.

After analyzing closed-circuit television, police think several Russians were involved in the attack on the Skripals, who spent weeks in hospital before being spirited to a secret location, Press Association reported.

“Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack,” the unidentified source close to the investigation said, according to PA.

“They (the investigators) are sure they (the suspects) are Russian,” said the source, adding security camera images had been cross checked with records of people who entered the country.

The motive for attacking Skripal, an aged Russian traitor who was exchanged in a Kremlin-approved spy swap in 2010, is still unclear, as is the motive for using of an exotic nerve agent which has such overt links to Russia’s Soviet past.

A British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died this month after coming across a small bottle containing Novichok near the city of Salisbury where the Skripals were struck down. Her partner, Charlie Rowley, is still in hospital.

A British police officer was also injured by Novichok while attending to the Skripals in March.

JALALABAD, Afghanistan, July 11, 2018 (Reuters) - Gunmen attacked an education department office in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday and held out against security forces for some four hours before the assault ended with at least 10 people killed, officials said.

As the attack ended, the provincial governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said the casualties included 10 people wounded.

He said there were three attackers, two of whom detonated suicide-bomb vests, while the third was shot by security forces.

It was the third major attack in less than two weeks in Jalalabad, the main city of Nangarhar province, following a blast that killed a group of Sikhs on July 1 and a second that killed at least 12 people on Tuesday.

With NATO member countries meeting in Brussels, the attacks have underscored the instability in much of Afghanistan where the NATO-led Resolute Support mission has been training and advising Afghan forces.

This year, backed by intensive US airstrikes, Afghan forces have claimed success in holding the Taliban back from major cities and US commanders say they have been hitting other militant groups like Islamic State hard.

But attacks on civilian targets have continued, causing heavy casualties.

Officials in Washington have told Reuters that President Donald Trump has been frustrated with the lack of progress and is expected to launch a review of the US strategy.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s attack but both of the other assaults in the city this month were claimed by Islamic State, which is opposed to both the Western-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban.

The attack on the education department appeared to follow the pattern of previous attacks including an assault on an office of the Save the Children aid group in Jalalabad in January and another on the city accounts office in May.

Nangarhar province, on the porous border with Pakistan, has become a stronghold of Islamic State, which has grown into one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous terrorist groups since it appeared around the beginning of 2015.

 

CAIRO, July 8, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt has strongly condemned the terrorist attack that occurred in Jendouba province in the northwest of Tunisia, which left six Tunisian security troops dead.

In a statement Sunday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry condoled with the Tunisian government and people for the death of the victims.

In addition, the statement stressed Egypt's support for Tunisia in the face of terrorism and all forms of violence and extremism.

The statement reiterated Egypt's call for the international community to play its role in confronting and uprooting this phenomenon through draining financial supplies to terrorist groups and preventing countries sponsoring terrorism from providing a safe haven and training for terrorist elements.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, July 7, 2018 (News Wires) - A least nine people were killed in an attack on Somalia's interior ministry and security forces killed all three attackers after a two-hour gun battle inside, police said Saturday, as the al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility.

A number of people, mostly government workers, had been trapped in the ministry on what had been a normal business day. Witnesses said some staffers died or were injured while leaping from windows or walls in an effort to escape.

More than 10 people were wounded and the death toll could rise, Col. Ahmed Mohamed said.

BEIRUT, July 5, 2018 (News Wires) - The Syrian military and its Russian allies pummeled rebel-held towns in southwest Syria overnight with more than 600 air strikes in 15 hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.
After four days of reduced bombardment, the intense air strikes had resumed on Wednesday following the collapse of talks between insurgent groups and Russian officers.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies are fighting to recapture the southwest, one of the last remaining rebel strongholds in Syria along with a region of the northwest bordering Turkey.

His two-week offensive, backed by Russian air power, has taken a large chunk of rebel territory northeast of the provincial capital of Deraa, as a string of towns surrendered.

The fighting and air strikes have already driven more than a quarter of million people in southwest Syria from their homes, the United Nations said on Monday, seeking shelter along the frontiers with Jordan and Israel.

Both countries have said they will not open their borders to refugees - Jordan took in more than half a million earlier in the war - but have distributed some supplies inside Syria.

Southwest Syria is a “de-escalation zone” agreed last year by Russia, Jordan and the United States to reduce violence.

Near the start of the government’s offensive, Washington indicated it would respond to violations of that deal, but it has not done so yet and rebels said it told them to expect no American military help.

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