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US cuts $45m in food aid to Palestinians
WASHINGTON: The United States will not provide $45 million in food aid for Palestinians that it pledged last month as part of the West Bank/Gaza Emergency Appeal led by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the US State Department said on Thursday. The State Department had said on Tuesday that Washington would withhold a separate $65 million it had planned to pay the UN agency that serves the Palestinians, saying
 
 
Israel apologises for deaths of two Jordanians
AMMAN: Jordan said on Thursday that Israel had formally apologised for the deaths of two of its citizens killed by an Israeli security guard last July in an incident that soured ties and led to the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman, state media said. Government spokesman Mohammad Al Momani was quoted by state news agency Petra as saying the Israeli foreign ministry had sent a memorandum expressing “deep regrets and
   
Troops rescue 32 kids from Shabaab school
MOGADISHU: Somali authorities said troops stormed a school run by Al Shabaab on Thursday night and rescued 32 children who had been taken as recruits by the militant group. “The 32 children are safe and the government is looking after them. It is unfortunate that terrorists are recruiting children to their twisted ideology,” Abdirahman Omar Osman, information minister for the Somali federal government, said on Friday. “It
 
 
1.3m children displaced by Daesh war: UN
GENEVA: About half the 2.6 million people displaced in Iraq after a three-year war with Daesh militants are children and persisting violence hampers efforts to ease their suffering, the United Nations said on Friday. While the Baghdad government last month declared victory over Daesh after wresting back almost all the territory Daesh seized in 2014, persistent bombing and shooting attacks make it difficult to rebuild the lives
   
Tribal clashes transform residential areas into battlefields in Basra
BASRA: Daud Salman and his family stayed put in their Iraqi village despite years of regular clashes between tribes, but when a stray bullet wounded his son, it was time to move. In the north of Basra province, “bullets talk,” he said. Feuds between the region’s half-dozen tribes often flare into pitched battles with assault rifles and machineguns, killing bystanders and driving a never-ending cycle of revenge attacks.
 
 
Turkey shells Afrin to oust YPG
REYHANLI: Turkey on Friday started fresh shelling of the Syrian town of Afrin in a move to oust a US-backed Kurdish militia that Ankara considers “terrorists” and vowed to press on with a full-scale operation against them. The Turkish government has repeatedly warned it will strike Syrian towns controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, including Afrin, after the US said it was training a 30,000-strong
   
9 Syrians freeze to death crossing into Lebanon
MADRID: Nine Syrians froze to death crossing into Lebanon when an icy storm hit a smuggling route in the mountains near a border post with Syria, the Lebanese Army said on Friday. The army rescued six others from near the Masnaa border crossing, one of whom later died in hospital, an army statement said. The army arrested two Syrians on smuggling charges and is still searching for others lost in the snow, it added. Meanwhile,
 
 
Macron sees Daesh defeat within ‘weeks’
TOULON: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that the Daesh group in Syria and Iraq would be defeated militarily “in the coming weeks,” as he laid out plans for bolstering France’s defence capabilities. “Today, thanks to the efforts of all the nations involved, the Daesh military organisation in the Levant is almost completely defeated,” Macron said in a speech aboard a helicopter carrier in the southern port of
   
Mortar injures 14 in Syria mental hospital
AZAZ: Mortar fire on a town in northern Syria held by Turkish-backed rebels wounded at least 14 people in a psychiatric hospital, a monitor said on Friday. The Thursday evening fire on the town of Azaz just across the border from Turkey came after Ankara bombarded the adjacent Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin for five straight days ahead of a threatened invasion. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of
 
 
UN warns of ‘lost generation’ in S. Sudan conflict
JUBA: Seventy per cent of South Sudan’s children are out of school and the young country risks losing a generation that would make it harder to rebuild after conflict ended, a United Nations (UN) official said. In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Henrietta H Fore, Unicef’s executive director, made the warning after visiting some of the areas most devastated by the war. “70 per cent of the children are out of school, that is
   
Journalists covering Sudan protests detained
KHARTOUM: Journalists working for Agence France-Presse and Reuters were among three reporters being held by Sudanese authorities on Thursday, a day after they were arrested covering demonstrations against rising food prices that were dispersed by police. Abdelmoneim Abu Idris Ali, a 51-year-old who has worked for AFP in Khartoum for nearly a decade, was covering the protests on Wednesday in the Sudanese capital’s twin city of
 
 
Daesh holiday attacks foiled, says Lebanon
BEIRUT: Lebanon thwarted militant plans to attack places of worship and government buildings over the holidays after gaining rare access to a Daesh group operative, the interior minister said on Friday. Nuhad Mashnuq said at a press conference that an elite unit in Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF) had arrested an Iraqi Daesh commander in Beirut last June. The commander, known as Abu Jaafar Al Iraqi, had been tasked by
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