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Al Shabaab attack beachside hotel in Somalia, killing 11

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(Last Updated On: August 17, 2020)

At least 16 people were killed on Sunday after the Al Shabaab armed group attacked a seaside hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

The militants detonated a car bomb at the high-end Elite Hotel in Lido beach before opening fire with assault rifles, Reuters reported.

Ismael Mukhtar Omar, a spokesman for Somalia’s government said that 16 people – including 11 victims and five attackers – were killed in the attack.

According to Omar, a police officer was also killed in the rescue operation.

He added the hotel siege was ended on Sunday after a fierce three-hour gun battle between al-Shabab fighters and security forces.

Al Shabaab militant group had carried out a similar attack on a Somali military base on Monday.

According to the reports at least five army soldiers were killed in the assault.

Three soldiers were killed when a suicide car bomber rammed the gate to the base, Reuters reported citing Major Mohamed Aden a Somalia military officer.

Soldiers abandoned the base and al Shabaab fighters entered it, planting a booby-trap bomb on one of the dead men which killed two more soldiers when it exploded, he said.

Meanwhile, Abdiasis Abu Musab, the Al Shabaab’s military operations spokesperson has told Reuters that the assailants had killed eight soldiers, including the base commander.

Somalia has been embroiled in civil war since 1991 when clan warlords overthrew leader Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

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Gov’t expresses concern over Armenia, Azerbaijan clashes

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday expressed its concerns over the ongoing clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. 

The ministry said in a statement that the Nagorno-Karabakh region has been recognized internationally as a part of Azerbaijan and as such Afghanistan calls for the end to clashes and “supports the efforts by the people and government of Azerbaijan and other nations of the world in this regard”. 

“Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan calls for re-establishing the ceasefire and resolving the region’s long-standing crisis peacefully,” the statement read. 

At least 21 people were killed on Monday in a second day of heavy clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan that reportedly involved airpower, missiles and heavy armor.

The confrontation between the two former Soviet republics has rekindled concern over stability in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets.

Any move to all-out conflict could drag in major regional powers Russia and Turkey, Reuters reported. 

Moscow has a defense alliance with Armenia, while Ankara backs its ethnic Turkic kin in Azerbaijan.

Majority Christian Armenia and mainly Muslim Azerbaijan have come to blows periodically in their decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region that is inside Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians.

Armenia’s parliament condemned what it said was a “full-scale military attack” by Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh that was receiving Turkey’s help, adding that Ankara’s involvement could risk destabilizing the region. Azerbaijan denied its ally Turkey was taking part in the fighting.

 

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India’s COVID-19 caseload now over six million mark

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

India’s confirmed coronavirus tally has bypassed the six million mark with another 82,170 cases reported in the past 24 hours. 

The health ministry reported that the COVID-19 caseload was now at 6,074,703.

At least 1,039 deaths were also recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542.

New infections in India, the world’s second-most populous country, are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world and are expected to surpass the US tally, which is at 7.1 million, within the next few weeks. 

According to Johns Hopkins University data, almost one in every three new infections reported in the world and one in every five reported coronavirus deaths came from India.

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Abdullah hopes Pakistan visit will ‘open new chapter’ in relations

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said early Monday morning his visit to Islamabad will prove a unique opportunity for Afghanistan and Pakistan to exchange views on the intra-Afghan negotiations. 

In a post on Twitter, Abdullah said “I hope this visit will open a new chapter of mutual cooperation at all levels, especially on achieving a lasting and dignified peace in Afghanistan.”

He also confirmed he will leave for Islamabad Monday, for an official three-day visit and will be accompanied by a high-level Afghan delegation. 

Abdullah said he will meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, the Chairman of the Senate, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Foreign Minister and other dignitaries.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Sunday, Abdullah will also deliver a key-note address at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

This will be Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan as head of the HCNR and the first since 2008. 

“The visit will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and people-to-people interaction,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry stated. 

“Pakistan attaches high importance to its fraternal ties with Afghanistan, rooted deep in shared history, faith, culture, values and traditions. 

“Pakistan fully supports all efforts for peace, stability and prosperity of the Afghan people. The visit of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will contribute to further strengthening amity, brotherhood and close cooperation between the two countries,” read the statement.

 

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