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Iraqi troops push into Daesh-held areas
MOSUL: Iraqi special forces pushed deeper into Daesh-held districts in eastern Mosul on Tuesday, and army units battled the militants inside a military base in the north of the city, military officials said. Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces pushed into the Eastern Nineveh and Souq Al Ghanam districts, which are flanked by areas held by Iraqi troops, spokesman Sabah Al Numan said. The special forces have now taken
 
 
Iraqis who fled Daesh militants grapple with trauma: UN
DEBAGA: A UN statement on Monday night said the fighting over Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul continues to inflict relatively high civilian casualties, with more than 1,500 wounded taken hospitals in the nearby city of Arbil for trauma care. Treatment of the displaced is hampered by the continued violence in Mosul. “The rate of relapse is very high because the IDPs (internally displaced people) on a daily basis receive
   
Sudan war now limited to Jebel Marra area: UN
UNITED NATIONS: The 13-year conflict in Sudan’s vast Darfur region is now limited to the Jebel Marra area as a result of the government’s successful counter-insurgency strategy against two rebel groups, UN experts said in a report circulated on Monday. The experts said Sudanese military action has forced the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to leave Darfur and operate mostly in neighboring South Sudan and the Sudanese Liberation
 
 
Israel rearrests freed Palestinian hunger striker
TEL AVIV: Israeli forces have rearrested a Palestinian journalist who was freed from prison last year after an extended hunger strike, his family and Israeli officials said on Tuesday. Mohammed Al Qiq was detained on Sunday night at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah on his way back from a demonstration against Israel’s refusal to return the bodies of slain Palestinian assailants, his wife Fayha Shalash said.
   
Hamas to free dozens held in protests
GAZA CITY: Hamas said late Monday it had agreed to release those arrested in connection with protests over severe electricity shortages that prompted an outpouring of anger in the Gaza Strip. The interior ministry in Gaza, run by Hamas, said in a statement the decision was made after a meeting between security chiefs and political movements in the Palestinian enclave. It did not say how many people were being released, but rights
 
 
Migrant boat disaster kills 180
ROME: Around 180 people are presumed to have died in the first major migrant boat disaster of 2017 in the Mediterranean, officials said Tuesday after interviewing a handful of survivors. Humanitarian workers from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), recounted harrowing details of a capsize that occurred on Saturday in waters off Libya after talking to four rescued passengers, two
   
Syria, rebels name delegation heads to Astana talks
BEIRUT: Syria’s UN ambassador will head the government delegation to upcoming peace talks, a Syrian daily reported on Tuesday, while the opposition said it would be represented by rebel negotiator Mohammad Alloush. The Al Watan daily, which is close to the government, reported on Tuesday that the regime’s delegation “will be led by Syrian diplomat and permanent representative to the United Nations Bashar Al Jaafari.”
 
 
Geneva talks still relevant, says Mistura aide
MOSCOW: Vitaly Naumkin, a Russian advisor to UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, said on Tuesday he still considered Geneva talks on the Syria conflict relevant. “I am sure that on Feb.8 there will be talks in Geneva and the process focused on a political resolution will continue,” Naumkin told reporters. “Some people say that we need to bury the Geneva process, that the UN cannot do any more,” he told reporters. “I don’t think that
   
Daesh assault halts aid drops in Deir Ezzor:WFP
BEIRUT: The World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday it has suspended aid drops to the besieged Syrian city of Deir Ezzor because of heavy fighting after a fierce assault by the Daesh group. The clashes, which continued for a fourth day on Tuesday, have left more than 100 people dead, according to a monitor. “We have put on hold the air drop operation in Deir Ezzor for security operational reasons,” said WFP spokeswoman
 
 
Gunmen attack Egypt checkpoint, kill 8 policemen
CAIRO: At least eight policemen were killed and three wounded in an attack by militants on a security checkpoint in Egypt’s New Valley province in the Western Desert, the Interior Ministry said late Monday. State television said the attack took place at around 8.15pm in the Al Naqb checkpoint more that 600km southwest of Cairo. The Al Naqab checkpoint, about 80km from El Kharga city, the capital of El Wadi El Gedid province lies
   
Jubeir rejects criticism of Riyadh in French polls
PARIS: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir has hit back at suggestions by some French presidential candidates that Riyadh funds extremism in France and that bilateral ties between the two allies should be reviewed. “I can’t comment on what’s said during an election campaign, but I know there is a misperception of Saudi Arabia,” Adel Al Jubeir told reporters late on Monday. “People say Saudi Arabia is extremism. Saudi
 
 
UN warns of famine risk in Somalia
NAIROBI: Somalia risks slipping back into famine, the United Nations, said on Tuesday, as worsening drought has left millions without food, water or healthcare in a country crippled by decades of war. Five million Somalis, or more than four out of 10 people, do not have enough to eat because of poor rains and fighting between the militant group Al Shabaab and Somalia’s African Union-backed government. Famine last struck pockets
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