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36 Islamic State militants killed by US bombing in Afghanistan

Last week, a U.S. soldier was killed in the same district as the bomb was dropped while conducting operations against Islamic State.

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The United States on Thursday dropped a Massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan reportedly on an Islamic State (IS) hideout in the country. The bombing killed at least 36 Islamic State militants and no civilians were affected by the explosion.

Ministry spokesperson Muhammad Radmanish told media that a large amount of ammunition and weapons were also destroyed in the bombing.

It was the first time the United States has used this size of a bomb in a conflict. It was dropped from an MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said.

moab

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb is pictured in this undated handout photo. Elgin Air Force Base/Handout via REUTERS

Also known as the “mother of all bombs,” the GBU-43 is a 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003, just days before the start of the Iraq war.

The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious, with a number of militant groups trying to claim territory more than 15 years after the U.S. invasion which toppled the Taliban government.

General John Nicholson, the head of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, said the bomb was used against caves and bunkers housing fighters of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, also known as ISIS-K.

It was not immediately clear how much damage the device did.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer opened his daily news briefing speaking about the use of the bomb and said, “We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area.”

Last week, a U.S. soldier was killed in the same district as the bomb was dropped while conducting operations against Islamic State.

“The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group, we must deny them operational space, which we did,” Spicer said.

He said the bomb was used at around 7 p.m. local time and described the device as “a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon.” The United States took “all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage,” he said.

U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province.

Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary. U.S. officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.

Islamic State’s offshoot in Afghanistan is suspected of carrying out several attacks on minority Shi’ite Muslim targets.

The Afghan Taliban, which is trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence.

Source : Reuters

South Asia

Imran Khan gets married for a third time, marries faith healer Bushra Maneka.

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Imran Khan

Imran Khan is no more single, and it’s official. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has confirmed that their chairman has tied the knot for a third time.

Photographs of Imran Khan’s Nikah with Bushra Wattoo have been unveiled. The photographs show Imran and a veiled Bushra along with several others, including PTI leaders Awn Chaudhry and Zulfi Bukhari.

On January 3, media was abuzz with reports of the PTI chief having contracted a third Nikah with the lady he used to visit for spiritual guidance.

But the party said that the Nikah ceremony was solemnised in Lahore on Sunday by Mufti Saeed.

Party spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry has wished the couple a happy married life.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

After much drama, Imran had broken his silence about his third marriage last month, clarifying that he had only sent a wedding proposal to Bushra and was awaiting her response.

According to a statement issued by the spokesperson for the PTI chief, Imran had sent a marriage proposal and the lady had sought time to consult her family, especially her children, before making any decision.

The statement insisted that the PTI chief would announce it publicly if Bushra accepted the marriage proposal.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

Last month, a local newspaper had claimed that Imran had already married for a third time and the woman in question was someone he used to visit for spiritual guidance.

The report also claimed that the wedding was held in Lahore on January 1 and was attended by Imran’s close aides.

In response, the PTI said an extremely private and sensitive matter was made the subject of an erroneous story leading to all manner of public conjecture.

“This has put an unacceptable burden, especially on the children of Bushra and Khan, who have had to learn of such a private and intimate issue from the media,” the statement said.

Stressing the need for restraint, Imran had urged the media to “give the two families, especially the children, their privacy”.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

Imran Khan was previously married twice, but neither of his marriages lasted. He married Jemima Goldsmith, a British socialite, in 1995. The relationship ended in divorce in 2004. He then married journalist Reham Khan in 2015, but the marriage ended after just 10 months.

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Red alert issued in Australian state for cyclone Kelvin

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Canberra, Feb 18: Authorities on Sunday issued a red alert in the state of Western Australia (WA) after tropical cyclone Kelvin made landfall earlier in the day, bringing with it winds of up to 250 kph.

In a warning, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services told residents of northern WA that they were “in danger and need to act immediately”, reports Xinhua news agency

“There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a cyclone is approaching the area,” it said.

Residents of the Pilbara and Kimberley regions were told to remain in the safest parts of their house, away from windows or stay in evacuation centres.

Further south, a yellow alert was put in place warning of winds up to 150 kph.

Heavy rainfall was also expected. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has warned of possibilities of heavy flooding.

IANS

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66 people killed in Iran plane crash

The plane crashed in a mountainous area near the town of Semirom.

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 A passenger plane crashed in central Iran on Sunday killing all 66 people on board, authorities said.

The ATR 72, a twin-engine turboprop operated by Aseman Airlines, crashed due to bad weather into the Dena Mountain near the town of Semirom, an official at the Iranian carrier confirmed to the media.

The plane was flying from Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasuj, reports Press TV.

Officials in Semirom said the crash site was hard to reach and rescue helicopters had been unable to land because of heavy fog and rain.

Spokesman for Iran’s emergency services Mojtaba Khaledi said rescue teams has reached the crash site by land and were trying to find the debris.

Air controllers lost contact with the airplane at around 8 a.m. The people on board were 60 passengers, two security guards, two flight attendants, the pilot and co-pilot.

IANS

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