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At least 12 killed in Mogadishu hotel siege

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(Last Updated On: August 20, 2022)

At least 12 people have been killed in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu after al-Shabaab militants attacked a hotel leading to a siege that authorities are still trying to end, an intelligence office told Reuters on Saturday.

The attackers struck the Hayat Hotel on Friday evening with two car bombs, before entering the facility while firing their guns and seizing control.

“So far, we have confirmed 12 people, mostly civilians, dead,” Mohammed, an intelligence officer who only gave one name, told Reuters.

“The operation is about to be concluded but it is still going on,” he said.

Sounds of explosions punctuated the night as government forces tried to wrest control of the hotel back from the militants, witnesses said.

Large sections of the hotel were destroyed by the fighting, Reuters reported.

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist group statements.

Al-Shabaab has been fighting to topple the Somali government for more than 10 years. It wants to establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law, Reuters reported.

The Hayat Hotel is a popular venue with lawmakers and other government officials but there was no immediate information if any of them had been caught up in the siege.

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US general says country will be at war with China in 2025

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(Last Updated On: January 31, 2023)

A U.S. general said in a memo on Friday that he believes the country will be at war with China by 2025, according to several news outlets that obtained a copy of the communication, The Hill reported.

“I hope I am wrong,” Gen. Mike Minihan, a four-star Air Force general who leads the Air Mobility Command (AMC), said in the memo to troops under his command, which was first reported by NBC News.

However, he added: “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025. [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] secured his third term and set his war council in October 2022. Taiwan’s presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a reason. United States’ presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a distracted America. Xi’s team, reason, and opportunity are all aligned for 2025.”

Minihan told AMC personnel to accept some increased risk in training as they prepare for the “China fight” and sometime in February to “fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most. Aim for the head.”

He also urged personnel in his command to get their personal affairs in order to “ensure they are legally ready and prepared” in March, The Hill reported.

However, a Defense Department spokesperson told NBC that Minihan’s comments “are not representative of the department’s view on China.”

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Pakistan mosque bombing death toll rises to 87

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(Last Updated On: January 31, 2023)

The death toll in the suicide bombing that tore through a mosque in Pakistan rose to 87 on Tuesday, a hospital official said, a day after the one of the biggest attacks in the unstable South Asian nation, Reuters reported.

The attack occurred in one of the most fortified areas of the northwestern Peshawar city, which houses offices of the police and counter-terrorism departments.

According to Reuters the bomber blew himself up shortly after hundreds of worshippers lined up to say their afternoon prayer, the latest in a string of attacks targeting police.

Hospital official Mohammad Asim said that 87 people had been killed, and that 57 people were being treated, seven of whom were in critical condition.

No one has claimed responsibility.

Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has denied responsibility, read the report.

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Blast kills at least 19 worshippers at mosque in Pakistan

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

An explosion in a mosque killed at least 19 worshippers and wounded dozens more in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar on Monday, a hospital official said.

According to him, many of the casualties were police officers who had gathered for afternoon prayers.

The mosque was located close to a police housing block, and there were some 260 people inside when the blast occurred, according to police.

“It happened during prayers. A two-storey building has collapsed,” an eyewitness told local news channel Geo TV, saying he was just outside the mosque when explosion happened.

“We received 19 dead and over 90 injured from the Peshawar Police Lines blast,” said Mohammad Asim, a spokesman for the city’s Lady Reading Hospital, referring to the neighborhood. “Many others are in critical condition.”

According to police there were more casualties buried beneath the rubble.

Footage from government broadcaster PTV showed police and residents scrambling to remove the debris and carrying wounded people on their shoulders.

“A portion of the building had collapsed and several people are believed to be under it,” police official Sikandar Khan said.

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